Monday, December 28, 2009

An archeologist is born

I like to try something new here. Normally, when I get a new idea, I sit on it for months and tell no one about it. It needs time to grow and ripen. I often make small adjustments to it over time, or leave it as is for weeks and then change it dramatically. It all depends on so many things: Moods, models and MUA's I meet or work from others that I happen to see. It may even depend on things I read in the paper or see on tv. Or on the street for that matter.

This time, I'll do it a bit different. I will not just sit on the idea, I will share the developments with you, my readers. I will call the new idea 'the archeologist'. In fact, it is anything but new. Some time ago, I developed a whole series of shoots, called Earth people. For this series, I constructed a table where models could stand in, that would be covered with earth. I started the series, but I did only one of the shoots I designed, the Gardener. That shoot, featuring Nicky, worked out well, but I found that the static nature of the table did not work out well. So I abbandonned the idea.
A couple of days ago, I was taking a shower, and somehow thought back of one of the themes of Earth people; the archeologist. Okay, the static table did not work out, but why abbandon the entire idea? If I find a nice backdrop and a couple of props, this would still be a great theme for a studio shoot. And think of a lighting plan of course. Think of how light falls inside a pyramid! Not that I've ever been in one, but we're talking clihces here, not realism.
That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted on the developments in the coming weeks.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Forbidden love

It is a classic, maybe even the classic, drama theme of all times. My former co-author at this blog devoted some of her deeper thoughts to the theme. I have been wanting to do a shoot inspired by the theme for a long time. But somehow, something held me back for no apparent reason. Silly? I guess so. But then I finally did the shoot, about a month ago, with ice and fire taking the role of two lovers that can´t be together. Cessy -by no means a cold person- was a convincing ice princess and Terence acted as a great fire prince. Awesome make up by Christine and colored strobes finished the picture.

The picture in this article is the final shot from the shoot. The lighting is more dramatic in this shot than in the other picture from the shoot, marking the innevitable end of two lovers who will never be together. For ice will melt from fire and the melting water will put out the fire.

To me, this shoot marks the end of an era. Maybe that’s why it took me so long to actually shoot it. I will turn towards a different style of model photography in the near future. Curious? So am I. I’m not nearly sure what it will look like, but there is change in the air. Just wait and see.

See more from this shoot in my deviantArt gallery.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ada & Eve

disclaimer 1: if you are easily insulted, stop reading now. This is just a story I made up. It ain't true, and there is no need to live by the rules of the story. The story by no means attacks your religions or beliefs, it's just a story. Neither is it anti-male or anti-female. If it has any mesage at all, the message is not to take internet blogs so seriously. ;)

disclaimer 2: the pitcure is inspired by the story and the ladies in the pictue are models. Any resemblence between the people in the story and the ladies in the picture is due to coincidence or careful castings and does not imply any thing about the private life of the models.

This may come as a shock to you, but the story of how men fell from grace with God is not true. It was made up by people who are ashamed of the truth. Yes, we lived in Paradise, and yes, we were chased out. Metaphorically, that is. True, the story involves an apple, but the apple didn’t have anything to do with anything. Neither did the snake. This, you see, was paradise. And in paradise, snakes are nice and friendly creatures. No poison, no strangling, no lies nor deceit. Yes, it has a forked tongue, but who are we to judge an animal by its looks? We have no one to blame but ourselves.

On the sixth day, God created men. Not a man, but men. Two women actually, Ada and Eve. Why women? Silly question. This is paradise. Who needs guys in paradise? Ada and Eve lived in paradise for many, many years and they were happy. They loved the flowers and the birds and all the other animals and they loved each other. Were thy lesbians, you ask? What a typical post-paradise thing to ask. Ada and Eve never wondered whether they were lesbian. They just loved each other. Period. Every now and then, Ada and Eve ate an apple or two. Not every day, as there weren’t any doctors in paradise anyway. And so many other fruits too choose from. But that’s not the point here.

Ada and Eve were perfectly happy. Well, not perfectly, something seemed to be missing. So they started looking for whatever it was they were missing. And one day, Eve found a picture of a guy on some obscure website. Not knowing what that was, she called Ada: “Look! This is what we need. Let’s ask God a favor.”

God, in all her wisdom, said no. But you know how women are. Ada and Eve kept nagging and nagging and nagging, until God finally gave in. She put Ada to sleep, removed her breasts and 80% of her brain and added some hairs and a penis. And that’s about it. No angels with flaming swords or anything. When Ada, now Adam, woke up, the place hadn’t changed a bit. But it wasn’t paradise anymore. Paradise was lost…

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Finally: something new on CamerA AbsurdA

I've been busy. You can tell that by the frequency of my postings here. You can tell that by my utter silence at most of the communities I visit and by the lack of new things on my main web site. I picked up shooting models again. Did a shoot in February, but that didn't work out. Not the right theme, not the right combination of people. Results were okay, but nothing spectacular. That's fine, these things happen.

I had a large shoot planned, mid March. I had already found a location, the female model and the Make up artist. About a week before the shoot, I felt that the communication between me and the model wasn't great. I had to tell her no and find a new one on short notice. And I did. And a damned good one too! Ofcourse, we'll never know how it would have turned out with the other model, but working with Nadine was just great! She hardly needs directions, knows rightaway what to do and has great expressions available.

The shoot, labelled "Queen of the Reich" after the epic metal song, shows the contrast between the traditional horror view, with the damsel in distress, and the alternative approach, where the Queen rules the Realm of darkness. I like a little twist, you know. Both versions are online now, go check 'm out. Enjoy!

Some fun facts about the song

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Modeling tips: feedback

Look up feedback in wikipedia, and you´ll find a rather technical and abstract story. This blog article is not technical or abstract. It looks at feedback you might want to recieve as a model, discussing why, how and where to get feedback, and how to receive it.

This is the simplest question. Feedback, if used right, can help you improve your performance. It is a very quick way to learn and greatly directed to your specific needs. If feedback is so great, you might ask, how come it is used so little in the modeling industry? That's because feedback does not come naturally, you'll have to organize it. Some agents do that, but not all of them do. Free lance models hardly ever do it. Why not start now?

Where to get it?
Who do you want feedback from? I would think you'dd like feedback from someone with experience in the business, who has seen many good and not-so-good models. Your agent? Yes, that's one person that fits the description. But there are more; every photographer, every make up artist and every styling artist fits that description. That means that potential feedback is all around you! You only need to get it.

Internet communities are also a place to get good feedback, based on the pictures you post in the community. Do note though that some people tend to forget about nettiquette and some feedback may be very harsh. Don't let it get to you. Ignore the blunt ones and learn from the good ones.

There is a catch though. Photographers are not very likely to give you feedback during the shoot. Right or wrong, they fear that feedback will influence the result of the shoot. So try to get feedback after the shoot, but tell the photographer in advance that you want feedback. That way, he (and the styling artist and the make-up artist) can look at you with different eyes and give you constructive feedback. In fact, he might even improve his directions as he looks different. When recieving feedback, be open to it. Sometimes, feedback may hit you hard at first and some people are a bit cruel in communicating feedback. Let's face it, photographers are not in the business because they are great communicators; their talent is photography. In any case, don't go all defensive (see links below for more tips), but listen, remember and use whatever you can use. I'm sure you'll get some great tips.

More resources:
Giving and receiving feedback
Giving and receiving feedback for academics, with practical implications for non-academics too (pdf)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Photography tips: Bad weather

Photographers are heavily biased towards nice weather. If we were to judge the word by pictures alone, we would be inclined to believe that we live under a clear blue sky for 90% of the time. Of course, we don't. Photographers just don't like getting wet, so they only go out when the weather is nice. Such a shame, since bad weather can be a very interesting subject.

Bad weather means bad light
Unfortunately, that is true. You won't have much light and the light is pretty flat. But there are ways around that. You will probably still have enough light if you use a fast lense, and high ISO-values are not much of a problem for cloudy skies. Nevertheless, pick your weather carefully. Mixed weather (clouds with showers and some sunny spells) is best. It will give you better light and more spectacular clouds, with more depth in your pictures. If you're photographing a subject rather than just clouds, try to keep the sun behind you. Heavy clouds and backlight are not a good lighting combination for anything other than silhouettes.

Post processing
The flat light of a cloudy day implies a little extra work on post processing your pictures. The most important issue here is contrast. Look at the two versiona of the same picture to the left (click for larger versions). The picture is taken with a lens that renders good contrast. Nevertheless, the unedited (upper) pic is a bit flat. That's because of the flat light.
All I did in post processing was adding three layers of level adjustments, creating more contrast, as well as the slight color change, that adds somewhat to the spookyness of the weather. Obviously, the very dark tones are applied to clouds rather than the foreground.
It's okay if your pics are a little darker than what would normally be considered correct exposure. After all, the message you are trying to convey is that of bad weather. This implies a little darkness. You can either do this in post processing or use exposure correction while shooting.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Photography tips: repetitions

Pretty much like the previous photography tip, this is an encouragement to go out and try rather than a tip. This time, I want to you to go out (or stay in) and look for anything repeating. Could be architecture, could be household equipment, could be anything.

Repetitions are everywhere, you only have to recognize them. Looking for them and photographing them is a great practice and helps you train your mind and eye. Like with the previous tip, you don't need any specific gear. Any camera will do.

Walk and watch

The best vehicle for this type of photography is by foot. Just walk around and look around. Chances are you´ll see a reptition in no time. If you see one, shoot it. But wait. Don´t move on yet. Walk around the object, or move it about if it´s small enough. Try different viewpoints, get closer, get further away. Don´t just zoom if you have a zoom lens. This is not about focal length. Moving closer or further away changes your point of view. A flight of stairs looks entirely different from 10 meters away than from right beneath it. Explore this differences. The object will probably retain its repetitions, but their nature will change, and so will your picture. Have fun!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Modeling tips: Hands!

This article is not about hand posing. Hand posing is an art in itself. This article is about posing in general and the position of the hand when you pose. Awkward? Maybe. Trivial? No way! Many models focus on so many things when they’re posing that they forget about their hands. That’s a petty. A misplaced hand can ruin a good picture, whereas a well-placed hand can make a picture work. Obviously, this is the photographers task, but why wouldn’t you look after your hands too?

The simplest principle is that the hand should not disturb the way you look. It should either be out of sight or nicely aligned with your arm (see picture to the left). For most shot, this principle is sufficient. Sometimes however, your hand needs to add to the emotion you’re expressing. This is the time to over-act. Dramatic poses can really be enhanced by large and even more dramatic gestures with one or both hands. Spread your fingers to draw attention to your hand. If the pose is more subtle, adjust the pose of your hand likewise, keeping your hands small and close to the body.

Hold it!
If you are using
props, you have an entirely different use for your hands. For inexperienced models, this is a great help. Holding a prop often helps you to put your hand in a natural position. But do keep in mind that this requires your attention as well. Hold the prop the way you would in real life. And practice in front of a mirror. That will make you understand the link between what you feel and hopw you look.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Happy New Year! I wish you all a very good 2009.

But that's not the only joyful event today. This very article is artile #100 of this blog. Started in March, that boils down to an average of about 10 articles a month. Not quite the three articles a week I planned, but not too much below that target either. I hope you enjoy reading them and I do hope you keep coming back.

To celebrate this milestone, I send this picture to the free section of Dreamstime. Registered Dreamstime-users can download the hi-res version without a watermark for free. Note that registration at Dreamstime is free as well. Go to the free picture directly by clicking on the thumbnail in this article.