Dear New Photographer…

Photo-by-Paul-Colley / United Photo Press
Dear New Photographer,

I’m writing this post because I was up late last night on a Facebook forum, reading close to 200 comments about new photographers and what slime they are to the industry. How they’re stripping photography of it’s “art” and destroying any decent business practices. I read every comment, feeling more and more sick to my stomach the further I scrolled down the page.

“Who do these people think they are? Don’t they remember when they were new and making all the same mistakes?”

I know this year has probably had it’s ups and downs for you; the excitement of booking your first paid gig, the confusion of all that “must have” photography gear and the hurt and guilt of being single-handedly blamed for “ruining the industry.” I know the phrase “what to charge for engagement photos” is probably one of the first things to come up in your Google search bar, and secretly you’re still wondering why using the eraser tool in photoshop is such a horrible thing.

I also know that you’re afraid to ask for advice at every turn because for every established photographer that is willing to help, you’ve got 30 more breathing down your neck that are doing everything they can to cut you down. I’ve been there too – I’ve had my work ripped apart online by a “reputable” photographer (who went out of business earlier this year), I’ve bought things I didn’t need because some famous photographer endorsed them and I thought it would make a dramatic improvement in my work (it didn’t), and I’ve used the crap out of the eraser tool (layer mask, folks).

So what I wanted to do here is give you a heads-up. A bit of a rant mixed with some advice I wish I had known in the beginning, this is just about everything I wish someone had told me the first day I got that used and slightly beat up (but still very new to me) camera in my hands.
Beware The Vultures
“Clients” will use you for free photos.

Countless people are about to ask you for free photos. New parents will adamantly lend you their newborn baby to “practice” on or will offer up their family to help you grow your “portfolio”. Magazines and businesses will ask for those landscape photos of yours in exchange for “exposure”. Don’t confuse these requests with paid shoots or even as complements, they are neither. These are people wanting free shit, plain and simple.

Now in the beginning, you are going to have to do some things for free – you need the experience and you need to build your portfolio – but know this: anything you shoot for free that isn’t related to what you eventually want to be paid for, or a personal cause, is a waste of your time. I knew from the beginning I didn’t want to shoot newborn photos, but I was interested in shooting weddings. So between two non-paying jobs, I took the one that added to my wedding portfolio and referred the newborn shoots to someone else.

Don’t take this to mean you should specialize immediately – you shouldn’t. You should shoot as many different things as you possibly can to try and find what your really passionate about, but don’t feel obligated to take any free job that comes along.

Other photographers will use you as an unpaid assistant.

I highly, highly recommend interning, but the point is to get something out of it. If all you’re doing is running errands, getting coffee and carrying heavy gear, you’re getting taken advantage of.

If you’re in an internship, ask questions. Ask about the camera settings, the lighting, the posing; everything! Why are they using one light when earlier they used another? Why do they keep telling the model to put her chin down? What aperture do they shoot at for large groups? Is there a reason they prefer one lens to the other? Some of these are questions better asked at the end of a session, when the client is gone, but if you have a question, ask. If the photographer you’re interning for blows it off or won’t answer your questions, find someone else to intern for. This person is after the free labor, not in mentoring an upcoming photographer.

P.S: Look out for any mentor that requires you to sign a No Competition Clause or a waiver saying you’ll work for free for any given amount of time. If they bring this up – RUN. Oh my god, run.
More experienced photographers will try to sell you things.

As a newbie, you are actually part of a growing market; a market where you’re willing to pay money for a short track to success, and there are a many other photographers ready to pounce. People are going to try and sell you workshops, gear, actions, presets, tutorials and more. All taking advantage of the fact that you’re willing to pay for something you don’t already have.

Now, I am a huge supporter of photographer education: I teach workshops, have tutorials and action sets and give away gradient and texture packs all the time, but you should know how to find the good ones. If you’re thinking of attending a workshop, ask to see references or testimonials from other workshop attendees. Ask to see an itinerary of everything you will be learning. Email the instructor to start a dialogue and see if your skill set is at the right place to be learning what they are teaching, and make sure any images you take at the workshop belong to you. You want to walk away feeling like you’ve actually grown in your development, knowing that all images taken by you belong to you, and that the money spent was worth every penny.
Seek Out Meaningful Criticism
Know where to go for the feedback you’re looking for.

I love my mom and I love my fiancé, but when I’m looking for good, constructive feedback on my latest work, neither of them are the best people to go to. For one, they’re incredibly biased, and two, they know nothing about photography.

When I need good, quality feedback, I approach a successful photographer that is knowledgeable in the field my photography is in. I shoot fine art portraiture; a landscape photographer or photojournalist that loathes the use of photoshop isn’t going to get me anywhere. In addition, neither is a Facebook, self-proclaimed photography “Pro”. Seek out the people that will give you unbiased, professional, relevant feedback. That’s how you grow.


It takes a little bit of effort to get that kind of feedback. Email a photographer you respect or try and schedule an appointment with a local gallery or editor. Sometimes you have pay for these kind of things, but it’s worth it.
Be impartial about gathering advice, but very selective in applying it.

No matter the advice you receive, people don’t know you. I was once told that my images were far too commercial to be considered art, and I should instead pursue work in fashion. All fine and well, except I didn’t want to do fashion work – I wanted to sell in galleries. Convinced I needed to shoot more fashion, they gave me plenty of advice about how to further commercialize my images, so I sat there and I took all of it – and then did the opposite. Their advice wasn’t necessarily right for me, but the knowledge was still very valuable. Now gallery sales are a large part of my income.
Know you probably aren’t going to like what you hear.

The whole point of feedback is to get better, which usually means something you’re currently doing can be improved. It never feels good to hear you’re weak in a particular area, but the sooner it’s pointed out to you the sooner you can do something about it. I’ve stated in other posts how valuable my time at Fotofest was – not because of the positive feedback I received (I did sell 4 pieces), but because of the feedback where I was slaughtered. Brutal honesty hurts, but I learned more in two weeks than I had in two years, and my work has made a dramatic improvement because of it.
Shrug off the jerks.

There are plenty of people out there just dying to give feedback to a new photographer, simply on the basis of cutting them down. Some old, jaded, bitter photographer that still can’t get over the fact that this whole digital “fad” hasn’t worn off yet. Yes, film is awesome, but so is digital and wet plates and colloidal tin types and God knows how many other forms of photography there are in the world today. Be very aware of the narrow-minded.
Value Business Skills AND Photography Skills

Just because there are a lot of photographers does not mean there is no room for you.

As with any other business, the quantity of vendors does not determine the success of a new vendor. A new vendor’s success is determined by the quality of their product or service, their reputation, their marketing plan, their community involvement, their prices and countless other things. Every business is different, just as every photographer is different. Figure out what it is that you can offer that is different than what is out there already and run with it.
Get ready to work… a lot.

I can’t honestly remember the last time I had a day off. If I’m not shooting, I’m editing, or answering emails, or sending out submissions, or planning, designing, and budgeting the next shoot. Every ounce of free time is spent doing something photography related – which is pretty awesome… mostly because I’m utterly obsessed with photography. If you aren’t obsessed though, this isn’t going to be the best career for you. You need to know your workdays will be long and your days off will be few, and if that’s the kind of thing you’re looking for, than welcome aboard.

Use the business model that works for you.

Hey guess what, when it comes to client work, I’m a shoot-n-burner. I shoot entire sessions, edit out the best photos and give clients the digitals. It’s what works best for me. I don’t build my business around the idea that I need to make money on prints. I make money on the cost of the sessions. Could I be making more if I sold prints? Probably. Would it be worth my extra time? Not to me. I don’t want clients coming back 8 months from now asking for 8 x 10s. I’d rather focus on booking another wedding, teaching another workshop or emailing another gallery. Each of those things has a much better value to me than filling another order of 11 x 14s and 5 x 7s.

Don’t feel bad, for one second, about begin a shoot-n-burner, charging less than everyone else, shooting for free or doing anything else other photographers are going to berate you for. The fact is, you have to shoot some things for free in the beginning and you have charge less in the beginning. It would be unethical not to. You don’t have the skills, the experience or the portfolio to be charging what established photographers do. And in all honesty, if your low price is taking business away from them, they’re doing something wrong, not you.
Raise your prices when you’re worth it.

All that shooting for free or at very low rates is no way to make a living though. As soon as you’ve got a decent portfolio together, you’ve got to start raising those prices to something more reflective of the kind of images you can produce. And yes, you’re going to lose some clients, but the truth is anyone paying you $50 for a full photoshoot isn’t a client anyway – it’s someone taking advantage of an exceptionally good deal.
Never underestimate the value of social media.

Learn how to use social media or get left in the dust. I can’t remember the last time I picked up a magazine, saw an ad for a company, remembered that company, went home and googled them, ended up at their website, searched for whatever product I saw in the magazine, and bought that product. I can, however, remember the last time I saw something scrolling through my Facebook news feed, clicked the link and bought it. That happened earlier today.
Other photographers are your best friends.

Great photographers slowly become more specialized over time. It’s only natural that the more we shoot, the more we begin to refine our skills in certain areas. Which means every photographer in your town won’t be shooting the same thing you are, and the ones that do, won’t all be going after the same target audience. If you’re a wedding photographer, be friends with other wedding photographers. There are countless weddings in various price points; way too many for one person to shoot them all! If you shoot weddings, refer newborns to the newborn photographer, lingerie shoots to the boudoir photographer, seniors to the senior photographer and they’ll all refer weddings to you. It’s a two-way street where everyone wins.
Get over your goddamn watermark already.


No one wants to steal your images right now. You’re not that good. There are a lot better photos out there that people could steal.


Putting a giant watermark in the middle of your photo does not keep people from stealing it, it keeps them from enjoying your work.


If they really want to steal it, a watermark isn’t going to stop them. Hell just last week I had to use one of my photos for a flyer, and I didn’t have the original on hand. So I took one from Facebook, cloned out the watermark and pasted it on the flyer. Worked for exactly what I needed it to do and it took all of 6 minutes. The watermark didn’t even slow me down.


“But my watermark let’s people know who took the photo!” So does your page link, but fine, if it’s really that big of a deal to you then put it in tiny letters in the bottom. If it’s not taking up the whole photo people will be much less inclined to crop it out.
Redefine How You Feel About Failure
“Getting it right” is subjective.

So much about photography is finding your own personal style, and that’s usually done through making a lot of mistakes. I remember the first time I accidentally left my shutter speed too low (because in the beginning I didn’t know how fast a shutter had to be to stop movement) and a huge number of my photos were blurry – and I LOVED it! Soon I learned how to control that blur and use it in a way that I wanted. What would’ve been a complete failure by conventional terms was actually a huge step forward for me.
Welcome the mistakes.

Learning from mistakes now will help you from making them in later, probably more crucial situations, so be a little more liberal with risks in the beginning. A mistake in your first wedding probably isn’t going to kill you; no one knows who you are and you’re shooting it for free for a family friend anyway. That same mistake at a wedding where they’ve put down $6K and you have a business and a reputation to uphold is probably going to be much more damaging.
Learn all the rules, then break them.

As much as I hate rules, they’re there for a reason. The first time I heard about the “Rule of Thirds” my mind was blown. I quickly began rearranging all my images to fit, and I was pleasantly surprised. And then I was bored. The “Rule of Thirds” is now one of my favorite rules to break – but it’s broken with intent, not by accident. There’s a difference.
Challenge yourself.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut in this industry. A 365 day project or a 52 week challenge is a great way to change things up a bit. In addition, start shooting things you aren’t necessarily familiar with. If you’ve only ever shot families, take on a pet shoot. Take a drive to somewhere new and shoot a few landscapes or try your hand at some street photography. You may not completely switch gears, but you’ll no doubt learn some new skills you can apply to your current photography.
Keep Reminding Yourself Why You’re Doing This

I love my job. I love waking up every day to take photos. I even kind of love slaving away in front of the computer spending 40+ hours editing a single photo because I know at the end of it all it will be worth it. I also know that there is plenty of room in this industry for newer, upcoming photographers and the world would be a lot better place if more people loved going to work every day just as much as I do. So overall, dear New Photographer, don’t ever forget that end goal. Keep plugging along, keep learning, keep growing, keep researching, keep shooting and keep taking things one step at a time.

I can’t say that this roller coaster ever really stops, and I can’t say that you’ll ever stop feeling like a newbie, but in a way, I don’t think we ever should. The second we think we know everything is the second we should probably pack it in. I hope I’m a newbie forever :).

And if you ever need someone to talk to about said roller coaster, feel free to talk to me – I answer best through email or on my Facebook page, Jenna Martin Photography :).

About the author: Jenna is a fine art and underwater photographer based out of Billings, Montana where she lives with her fiancé Chris, their 2 dogs (Smoltz and Maddux) and their 4 cats (Flo, Study Buddy, Tank and Carl). After acquiring her Master’s in Psychiatric Rehabilitation, she made a drastic career change into the field of photography where she has been producing surreal images for the past 2 years.

David LaChapelle - An unique exhibition in Vienna



“Once in the Garden” is the title of the exhibition by the artist/photographer David LaChapelle which started on the 2nd of June 2014 and is closing already on the 15th of September at the Gallery OstLicht, in the city of Vienna.

The Gallery OstLicht brings to the public very well known photographs of the artist but also 3 series of his recent artworks. The exhibition features exclusive materials showing for the first time in Europe and a collection of pictures developed specifically for the Life Ball (Biggest Charity event supporting people with HIV running every year in Vienna).

This is indeed a great opportunity to finally get to know or to follow the artwork of one of the greatest World known photographers which his oeuvre have has been described as "hyper-real and slyly subversive" and as "kitsch pop surrealism”.

The Contemporary artist Ricardo Praga, member of the United Photo Press, had the chance to interview the Curator of the Gallery, Sophie Haslinger, which was part of the team setting the exhibition.

Below you can see our reportage video which gives a better overview of the exhibit:




Text and video artwork by Ricardo Praga
www.ricardopraga.com

UNITED PHOTO PRESS - World Photography Day: August 19th 2013

UNITED PHOTO PRESS - World Photography Day: August 19th 2013

More than ‘just’ a picture and more than ‘just’ art. A photograph is a memory frozen in time, emotions and all. World Photography Day is all about celebrating photography. Whether you see yourself as an Amateur, Hobbyist or Professional, August 19th is a day to embrace your love of photography.

WIN ! 1 of 20 copies of "WORLD" Photo Book from UNITED PHOTO PRESS.


Just send your's best photo with the words "UNITED PHOTO PRESS" and your contact to:
info@unitedphotopress.net — in New York, NY.


PHOTOGRAPHY: MEMORY, ART AND EMOTION

The photo is a universal language. It is something that came true in a given time and a given space. That moment photo, often belonging to a distant past becomes alive and present before our eyes and our emotion. It is an instrument that opens the door for you to create and recreate images of the world. Each person pointing camera for any image to be photographed has a different look from the other and this is an unimaginable wealth. Are small peculiarities seen by a camera, and the other camera on the other. This diversity of focus multiplies each moment lived, immortalizing particularly a moment of joy, excitement, natural beauty, artistic expression. This variety of looks is what makes it so fascinating and rich the act of shooting, making it often a true work of art.

In addition, photography is one of the instruments that light up the memory. Without memory there is no history and no history there is no life to remember. Man, from the earliest times, always wanted to perpetuate, telling stories to the children, for the grandchildren so that their narratives crossed time. Even without the mastery of writing, the memory was the only chest of stories. But the man felt then that needed to record what was happening and began to paint the actions of his life on cave walls, initiating the art of painting and writing: acts of memory.

Time passed, the painters continued to record life, until, in the nineteenth century a fact change the view of art and the world: the advent of photography. Before that, there were only two ways to "freeze" a picture: keeping it in mind or asking a painter to do a painting. The first photograph, recognized as such, was made in 1826 by Frenchman Joseph Nicepháre. There was photographic film yet. The image was then recorded on a glass plate with the aid of a darkroom. Had to be even a landscape, because the photo took 14 hours to be registered. Imagine if it were to portray a person! - "Watch the birdie! Just a little more! Watch the birdie just over 14 hours. "

The 14 hours turned into seconds. The frozen image gained movement and voice. Today, we can write an image to the phone memory or computer and even a gold record, able to withstand the ravages of time and the immense radiation in orbit. This disk will into space carrying a collection of photos on board a satellite communication. But nothing compares to the act of contemplating, as long as you want, the moment immortalized in a photo.

August 19, marks the World Day of Photography and is a time to celebrate, it is very good to get a photo album and remembering that ride, that trip, that birthday party, those who were absent but remain with us, not only in the heart, but looking us in the eye! Despite the ease of digital cameras, many still prefer the delicate frame of smiles and always surprising images from the pages of a photo album.

Carlos Alves de Sousa
Executive President
UNITED PHOTO PRESS 

Swedish championship: Photography without professional equipment is that possible?

I decided to photograph the Swedish Championship in Sweden (Borås) I got my accreditation so I could take photos without any problems with accessibility.

Before I decided to shoot Swedish Championship, I thought about going there to photograph without professional equipment? Let's try and see how it goes I thought, and packed my gear and drove to Boras.

I started with photographing bowls that held the middle of the center where both competed and was able to test on as an amateur. The pictures were great and colorful.
 
Crosscart, Cars and Motorcycle
As number two, I chose MC / car & crosscart that was running in the woods on a hill, put on my 150-500 lens and was looking good spot for photography, the competition started with MC.

Crosscart, Cars and Motorcycle
Everything worked fine with my lens when I looked at the pictures only problem came when the sun disappeared when the pictures were not as good in color longer.



Gliding aerobatics
The third sport, I chose flight on Boras Airport but this day the weather was bad with rain and clouds in the sky. I put on the 150-500 lens and set the camera for at least 1/1000 sec.

There were mixed results when the sun came and went, but good enough to be used at high level.

Gliding aerobatics
When the sun disappeared so became the pictures again quite boring with dull colors against the gray sky, had I had better equipment so had obviously images become more useful.

Gliding aerobatics


Swedish Championship in Roller Derby

The sport involves practitioners, divided into two teams, running on an oval indoor track and points are awarded to a player (wailing, marked with a star on the helmet) that runs by each member (blockers) of the opposing team. Blockers is to block the path of the opposing team's jammer and help their own jammer to make it easier to get past. This is done by using different strategies. The team with the most points at the end of the match wins.

Roller derby was developed in the USA during the 1930s and was originally an entertainment sport. At that time played both ladies and gentlemen. In the 1970s, the sport died out of the 2000s revived, this time as an underground / do-it-yourself movement with mostly female practitioners.

Roller derby is run on an oval, flat indoor track. A match (called a bout) lasts for a total of 60 minutes and is divided into two 30-minute periods. The sessions are in turn divided into several jams that can be in a maximum of two minutes and 30 seconds break in between.

The teams consist of up to 14 players each. Ten pieces are on the track at the same time, four blockers and one jammer from each team. Substitutions may be made from yams. A blocker may have the role of pivot, closest comparable to a quarterback in American football, and have certain privileges. Pivot is marked with a stripe down the helmet and wailing with a star.

Each jam starts with the blockers start in a cluster (called packing) behind the front starting line on the track. Jammers start position is at the rear starting line, directly behind the peloton. Everyone starts at the same time on the referee's whistle. Lamentation first task is to try to squeeze through the peloton. Blockerns task is to try to boost their own jammer through the pack while preventing the opponent's jammer to get through. This may be done through tackles according to certain rules. The jammer who first manages to get through the opposing blockers without being penalized for any fouls called lead jammer and has the right at any time to cancel jammen by placing his hands on his hips. The two jamrarna will now quickly run up the peloton again after which point the count begins. Wailing will now try to get past so many motståndarblockers as possible. Each rule according overtaken motståndarblocker gives one point. When lead wailing marks with hands on hips or when two minutes have elapsed, the jam is over.

Around the web, there are seven judges, including those on roller skates, with different roles. Five keeps track of the bunch, and two follow opposite jammer to keep score. 


UNITED PHOTO PRESS - Tommy Hammarsten - Sweden 2014
Vídeo coming soon...!

Sarajevo Film Festival - An art "BOOM" during the Bosnian war.

Sarajevo Film Festival - Photography by Ricardo Praga
Sarajevo Film Festival is one of the most important film festivals from Eastern Europe which can differentiate from others due to its origins and this year, from 15th to 23rd of August, celebrates its 20th edition.

The festival was not created either "before" or "after" the Bosnian Independence war but "during" the siege.

Such event is a live proof that, no matter which bad circumstances in life people are facing, there is always need and space for Art.

The SFF (Sarajevo Film Festival) was founded in 1995 during the siege of Sarajevo and the attendance to the projections were quite low within that time. However 15000 people were at the 1st edition in which were projected 37 films from different countries.

The SFF has a strong attention from media and its audience has increased to more than 100 000 viewers. Throughout the years the city managed to bring to the capital celebrities such as:

Angelina Joli, Brad Pitt, Bono Vox, John Malkovich, Jeremy Irons, Morgan Freeman, Steve Buscemi, Nick Cave, Gérard Depardieu, Michael Moore, Kevin Spacey, Danny Glover, Eric Cantona and many others.

SFF is not only an attempt to bring the 7th art to an audience and definitely shouldn´t be about celebrities, red carpets and people with money. The reason why this festival drags so much attention from media and movie stars is due to all Sarajevo film festival History. According to Mirsad Purivatra, the festival´s Director, the event should be a place especially to promote Balkan films and discuss Balkan issues.

Srdan Golubovic – Film director presenting the movie “Circles” at the SFF red carpet
There is so much more to know about the festival that cannot just be told but should be experienced. Only this way is possible to understand why there is such an interesting and special atmosphere at the place.So, if anyone thinking on traveling throughout the Balkan area then is a great opportunity to do it during the festival time.

For those more curious, the following videos can provide a better impression of the environment.


Text, photography and video by Ricardo Praga
www.ricardopraga.com

Srebrenica Massacre – 19 years after the genocide

Gallery 11/07/95 – Design by Ricardo Praga based on the photography artwork from Tarik Samarah
Gallery 11/07/95 – Designed by Ricardo Praga based on the photography artworks from Tarik Samarah


Being part of an organization such as United Photo Press don’t mean only to do photography or painting and promoting it throughout the world, means also that we can use those activities that we are good at to raise awareness on World´s current problems and conflicts. By using your personal skills together with an initiative spirit, the United Photo Press can indeed provide you with the opportunity to highlight important causes or events. Due to that, as an artist and member of UPP, I would like to take the chance to recall today´s date, 11 July, the day which started the Srebrenica Massacre in Bosnia back in 1995. Have been only 19 years from what is known as the biggest genocide after World War 2. More than 8,000 Muslim men were rounded up and killed when the town of Srebrenica was seized during the Bosnian war. These people have been buried in mass graves during the war times and till now only over 6000 have been exhumed from mass graves to be buried at Potocari cemetery.

Today the remains of 175 victims are being buried at Potocari Cemetery and every year more remains are found and put together till families agree that is time to bury them. 

There are still around 2000 victims somewhere in hidden mass graves across the Drina valley, today´s Republic of Serbia.

The past shouldn’t be forgotten and the crimes committed are no different of the genocide committed in other camps such as the Auschwitz. Therefore, young people should be constantly reminded of the crimes and must do all that is necessary to never let such things happen again.



Gallery 11/07/95 – Srebrenica – Photography by Ricardo Praga


 It´s important to know that such event didn´t happen so long time ago and must say that I do remember very freshly those times. Incredible to think 19 years ago this was happening just in Europe but things in that time seemed so far away…
Nowadays as countries in Europe get more near each other with borders dropping allowing free transit between different cultures, this phenomenon that happen back in 1995 is just near to unthinkable but on the other hand very recently we were assisting to a War happening in Ukrainian soil which is showing that we, as human kind, are not taking the proper actions when such conflicts as the Bosnian one appear. We didn’t established proper protocols to prevent innocent people to die.

We are not learning much from past mistakes even if we are aware of previous horrifying genocides or is it possible that we just start to forget since medias not playing the role of recalling important History facts and instead pumping the general public with many other information far from relevant. Today while running through several international media channels I could verify that there was not much information about the events that happened in 11 July 1995 or the ceremony of the 175 victims that were killed during the massacre and finally the families have the chance to do a proper burial today. Bosnians every year are burying the victims at the 11th and doing ceremonies in this day to recall the terrifying acts of the Genocide, the street´s walls from the capital scream for Srebrenica with graffiti painted on the walls and a big gallery just at the city center of the capital call for the 11 July 1995. From my perspective such date should be propagated worldwide to let people know what power, politics and religion can lead to if not driven by compassioned, reasonable and intelligent people.

Today with the United Photo Press we would like to take you back to 1995 and recall what happen during the times of the Massacre and due to that we have been at Gallery 11/07/95 in Sarajevo, one of the most important galleries in the capital with the main aim to call for awareness of the Srebrenica events.




Text and images by Ricardo Praga
www.ricardopraga.com

The Sixth IAPAJ Art Exhibition in Japan and First IAPAJ Art Exhibition in Europe


Expression and impression in Fine Arts 

Most important expectancy in this case, The Sixth IAPAJ Art Exhibition in Japan and First IAPAJ Art Exhibition in Europe is a more refined artistic vision as a result of the world window.

This is a time when art appropriates scholars’ precepts to regurgitate spontaneous gestures of creativity.
The art, being a manifestation of language, own codes and signs that are interpreted by the public and the enrichment comes with this exchange of culture between the Continents.

The art work in motion, in short, is the chance of a multiplicity of personal interventions, but it is not amorphous invitation to indiscriminate intervention: is the invitation not necessary neither univocal to targeted intervention, to insert ourselves in a free world, however, is always the one desired by the creative artist. He offers, in short, the spectator a work over.

Saíra Kleinhans
Founder President
IAPAJ Worlwide


Michel Campeau - PHOTOGRAPHIC DARKROOM


Since 2003, Canadian photographer Michel Campeau travels the world to photograph darkrooms. Toronto, Mexico City, Havana, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Niamey, Ho Chi Minh City and Tokyo were stops to record these chambers of analog photography. Technological progress makes these rooms, where icons of picture making once were crafted through the use of chemicals on silver gelatin paper, obsolete. Today they seem like allusions to a time long gone.

Campeau highly appreciates these historical places. He regards their fate as an important means to bring attention to the influence of globalisation and proceeding digital revolution on culture industry. However, he also refers to the thus visible regional standards of photography, which are, as he points out, not as universal and ethnocentristic as the Western world may perceive them to be. His Photographic Darkrooms are evidence for that.

Martin Parr, who published some of the work in an editorial series wrote about it:

»Most photographers have spent hours and days in that peculiar environment known as the darkroom. Here, prints are magically created using chemicals and light. Campeau’s photographs show the passing of an era. As digital production takes hold to a greater and greater extent, we will look back at these images and mourn the darkroom’s passing.«

Canon EOS 1DC: Is this the "perfect" camera?


Such an important camera

I've been using the Canon EOS 1DC for the last few weeks and I wanted to explain why I think this is such an important camera.

First of all, let's look at what exactly this camera is.

The Canon 1D series has a long history of being at the top end of Canon's still camera range. It's always been expensive compared to their other cameras and you only have to pick one up to see why. It's heavy. Not only does it have a dual horizontal/vertical aspect, with a second, perpendicular hand grip at the bottom of the camera, but many of the controls are duplicated as well for ease of use in portrait mode.

The extra grip also provides space for the large battery, giving the device the sort of extended power provision that is essential if you're working in the field, away from mains electricity.

And then there's the fact that it feels like it is hewn out of a single chunk of metal. It isn't - it's much more complex than that - but it does give you the reassuring feeling that this is a device that's going to last and last, even if it's used all day, every day.

Consistent with this impression is the reassuringly positive and fast action when you lightly press the button to take a picture. It happens almost instantly, accompanied by the sort of clunk that you get when you close the door on a very expensive German car.

Whichever way you look at it, this is a top end camera that's begging to be used hard.

And that's before you see the pictures.

1st DSLR to capture 4K video

What makes the 1DC different - in fact unique - is that it's the first DSLR that can capture 4K video.

Now, quite obviously, if you're the first, you don't have any standards to comply with. Canon had carte blanche to do whatever they wanted with this camera, and they made some interesting - some would say controversial - decisions. 

The biggest of which is probably that they chose MJPEG as the compression format for 4K.

This is not the newest codec for storing video. It's certainly not the most efficient, but there are clear and completely justified reasons for Canon choosing this in my view.

First of all, it does a very good job. Look as hard as you like and you'll struggle to see artefacts. The bitrate at 4K is pretty phenomenal - about 3.6GB per minute. You're going to need a lot of storage.




4K frame grab




4K frame grab 1:1 crop



But what this gives you is essentially a string of individually encoded frames. There's no interframe compression to worry about. Each individual frame is there in its own right, without any need to refer to adjacent frames. Most of the time, this is a big advantage.

And because it's a well-known codec, you're able to play and manipulate your 4K footage in quite a few NLEs without any complaint. To grab individual frames I brought 4K footage into Premiere. I even clicked on a 4K MJPEG .MOV file and said "Open with Photoshop". This worked without hesitation: The latest Photoshop CC opened the clip - as a video - and I was able to step through the frames and export with ease.


"Flowers" 18Mpixel still



Specification-wise, there are cameras with more pixels, for less money, that weigh less. And some of them are very good. But what comes out of this camera, with the right lens, is simply superlative. And that's not just pictures that you take in an ideally-lit studio; it's everyday shots that you snatch opportunistically as well. Quite simply, this is the sort of camera that can quite often turn the mundane into magnificent.

There's absolutely nothing new about a DSLR that can capture video. All of the arguments about whether you should be taking video with a DSLR still apply with the 1DC. It's probably not the best form factor for shooting video. It doesn't have a global shutter. You can't autofocus - in fact, you can't really focus-pull. But despite that, at HD resolutions, the optics and the sensor do a great job.



So clear, so sharp

That you are able to do this is pretty important with this camera because the 4K footage is so clear, so sharp, that you can absolutely select individual frames and use them as stills.

Of course if you do this, you're not getting the ultimate quality from the camera because you're not using raw, and because your pictures will only be made from eight megapixels. But eight megapixels is more than enough to give you a good image, especially on a camera of this quality. Just the fact that you can select exactly the right frame from the thirty per second that you've shot gives you an unprecedented ability to capture exactly the right moment.

And sometimes this is the only thing that will give you a decent shot. I was taking some pictures of my daughter in a restaurant in the available light - a mixture of perpendicular window light, and incandescent light bulbs. What sounds like a bit of a nightmare was actually handled very well by the camera. The Auto White Balance got it exactly right, and the fact that the lens was opened right up gave a lovely out of focus background with a great looking bokeh.

But there was a problem. The depth of field was so shallow, that it was hard to get the focus right. More often than not, my daughter's nose was in focus but her eyes weren't. And because she was talking and gesticulating at the time, it was almost impossible to get a good shot.
4K movie mode

So I put the camera into 4K movie mode. I just took about six seconds (I didn't have the biggest memory card with me at the time). It looked OK on the camera's LCD screen so I brought it home and opened it up in Photoshop.

What I saw was revealing.

About four-fifths of the clip was not properly focused. The depth of field was too shallow, and there was too much movement. It was still usable though - I think people are used to this type of DOF issue and because the subject was moving, it was excusable.

As I went through the short clip frame by frame, I came across some images that would simply have been missed if I had been shooting stills, unless I was extremely lucky. The control was so precise that I remember approaching a group of frames where the focus on my daughter's eyelashes was improving. I simply stepped forward to the frame where the focus was perfect, and exported that as my shot.

It's hard to explain how good it is to work like this. Cameras have been striving for this type of capability ever since the days when film-based SLRs had fast motor drives. But the 1DC is about five times faster than these ever were. The slight loss of ultimate resolution is in my view a small price to pay for the ability to get the right shot at the perfect time.

All of which illustrates another point: exactly how good the 4K from the 1DC is.

It also highlights another debate: the one about raw vs compressed video that's ready to use.






"Bottesford" 4K frame grab






"Bottesford" 4K frame grab 1:1
A moving high resolution still picture

We'll be returning to this in other articles but for now what I would say is how great it was to shoot some clips and to know that they'd be usable straight out of the camera. In fact to call these "usable" is to understate it. The 4K video from the 1DC looks like a moving high resolution still picture. It really is that good.

How can this be? It's compressed, and it's only 8 bit. Surely that can't be compared with 12 bit raw uncompressed raw video?

No, it can't. It's not going to be as flexible as 12 bit raw uncompressed. You can't push it as far.

But don't forget that the 8 bit MJPEG compression in the 1DC is being fed with extremely high quality images in the first place. What this means is that despite the apparent disadvantages of the codec, to all intents and purposes, the images are extremely good. I've also read several reports that say you can actually push the images quite far in grading as well.

So, what you get with the 1DC is not just one camera, but essentially three of them.

You get a "conventional" still camera, and it's one of the best you can buy. You get a still camera that can take thirty eight megapixel images per second. Working like this is a complete revelation, and once you've tried it, you won't ever want to be without it.

Finally, in the same device, you have a wonderful 4K movie camera. Despite all the potential drawbacks compared to dedicated movie cameras, this is definitely something you would want to have. Here's why.

The DSLR video revolution has turned a huge number of professional still photographers into video makers. Most of them still concentrate on still images but with the 1DC, with the same sort of kit you've always carried with you (ie a professional, heavy, no-compromise DSLR) you can make cinema-quality films as well. The footage you can get with the 1DC wouldn't look out of place in a National Geographical wildlife documentary. In fact, if you're in any breaking news situation and you have one of these, it's not difficult to see whose footage the broadcasters are going to choose. To put this in perspective, the European Broadcast Union has designated the video from the 1DC as "Tier 1", which is their highest quality category, suitable for absolutely any broadcast use.

I strongly believe that the 1DC is the first of a new class of cameras that will become the staple kit that photographers worldwide will want to take with them. It's almost like magic: take a top-end still camera with you and with the press of a single button, the mirror jumps out of the way, and you can make top end 4K footage as well.

Is it expensive? Well, not if you're a professional. It costs about the same as a small car. If I were a serious professional photography freelancer, I wouldn't hesitate to buy one with my own money.







Free venues at the Montreux Jazz Festival

We always announce the Festival lineup in two parts, because at Montreux we showcase music in all its forms. These events represent music from the heat of the afternoon to the cool of dawn. Here is our second array of performances and projects, all completely free!

Free Venues

The Rock Cave // doors open at 9 pm, first concert at 10 pm

This year the Rock Cave presents not one but two live performances per night, in a space that has been slightly enlarged in order to better enjoy a close encounter with artists of the Swiss and international kind: the Fat White Family is a grouping of six English bad boys whose smooth rock–like themselves–is tempered by a sharp edge from rougher days. Twenty-something brother act Drenge disguise their raging rock in layers of electric pop music, with a delicately torturous result that smacks of post-punk and the White Stripes. In stark contrast, the hot dreams of Timber Timbre sound like angels singing their hearts out—hearts that the Canadian crooner will be breaking non-stop with his powerful folk vocals. Also not to be missed is the elegant, rhythmic rock and melodic refrains of just-announced Brooklyn trio SKATERS. Also in the mix: TOY, The Lords of Altamont, Blues Pills and, above all, Swiss rock that never stops.

The Rock Cave program



Music in the Park // starting 1 pm

To live the summer outdoors, come to Parc Vernex starting at 1pm, whether with the family or just your main squeeze. On the green lawn, big bands from all over the world will kick things off with a bang! After the crowds have had time to sample the rich culinary offerings of the stands along the promenade, and as the evening concerts approach, Swiss and international bands proudly take the open-air stage. A veritable explosion of diversity is scheduled, mixing new discoveries and famous artists: Guillaume Cantillon “Kaolin”, Opé Smith, Maceo Parker, The Rob Ryan Rob Show, a Japan Day with huge stars from Japan Hotei et Lisa Ono, the dark-wave Zurich sound of The Beauty of Gemina, Australia’s The Jezebels, and even Ella Ronenaccompanied in sign language by specialist Laura Schwengber…

Music in the Park program




Aftershows at the Lab // starting after the concerts, until 5 am

Every night after the concerts (except 11 July) the Lab metamorphoses into a temple of electronic music, opening its doors to night owls of all descriptions. The aftershows lineups feature the hottest acts that are lighting up dance floors all over the world, including Dantom Eeprom,Nina Kraviz and Daniel Avery. Discover amazing talents likeGramatik, out of Slovenia but now operating out of Brooklyn, or Montreal’s Kaytranada. A few long-established artists will keep things on an even keel: Ellen Allien, Michael Mayer, Matias Aguayo andEtienne de Crécy.

Aftershows at the LAB program



Aftershows at the Club // starting after the concerts

The jams after the concerts at the Club prove that improvised music is alive and well at the Montreux Jazz Festival! You’ll want to keep a close eye on the mood every single night if you would like to experience the artists from the main venues and the competitions communicating with each other–and with the audience–in the language of improvisation.





The Studio // from 11 pm to 5 am

The Studio, another venue that gets people on the dance floor, has a subtle theme each night showcasing house, progressive house, and techno. This year’s surprises run the gamut from Klangkarussell, well known for their hit Sonnentanz, to the Chicago-Detroit tracks of Green Velvet and the irresistible new sound of L.A. duo Claude VonStrokeand Justin Martin. The Brodinski-esque French wave of the label Bromance will sweep you away with Monsieur Monsieur andLouisahhh!!! and MK makes a triumphant return with USA-style house-disco. An electronic smorgasbord!

The Studio program



Educational projects and Workshops

Le Chalet d’en bas // everyday starting 4 pm

This ephemeral museum brings to life the Festival’s rich cultural and technological heritage, with interactive exhibits, direct access to the concert archives, and a rock-n-roll photo exhibition. Some of the attractions include: “Other Music”, exhibition of rock photos byCatherine Ceresole; iPads and a chronological video wall displaying Festival archives footage; new technologies developed at the EPFL (Lausanne’s Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) such as Sound Dots–sonic umbrellas–and a 3D visual and acoustic recreation of the concert hall in the old Montreux Casino. Also on display is thewall of light designed by Cauboyz, which visitors can activate using a Wurlitzer piano. If you are thirsty for more than music, a line of gourmet lemonades is available as well. 



Workshops & Competitions // starting 1 pm

The workshops exist to continually question our relationship with music of all kinds. One of Montreux’s trademarks is to provide “alternative” venues for artists to interact with the public in an intimate afternoon setting. This year, Neil Cowley, Monty Alexander, Tigran Hamasyan, Moderat, Manu Katché and Oh! Tiger Mountain will discuss their music (and perhaps provide examples!) at the Petit Palais. A lecture series will push back the boundaries of the relationship between music and science (featuring researchers from the CHUV or CERN), cinema, and the human body. At the Montreux Palace, theMontreux Jazz Artists Foundation continues to intensify its support of young artists, organizing the famous Competitions in Voice, Piano, and Guitar. These are veritable springboards for young talents in Swiss and international jazz, with the winners earning admission to theMontreux Jazz Academy opening this autumn…and why not a gig at the Blue Note New York?

Workshops program



Swiss artists

Claude Nobs was always proud to point out how each year our local artists prove at Montreux that the Swiss music scene is truly vibrant, whether in popular music, jazz, rock, or DJing. Music in the Park, the Rock Cave, El Mundo, and the dance floors of the Studio…the Festival offers an incredible array of Swiss artists that you can’t afford to miss:Cheyenne, Forks, Lady Black Sally, Camion, Kruger, Iris Moné,The Bianca Story, Klischée & Band, Annakin, Stevans and Gustavalong with many many more!


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