Recommended Article: Henri Cartier-Bresson (from Adam Marelli’s Blog)

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Recommended Article: Henri Cartier-Bresson (from Adam Marelli's Blog)

Adam Marelli (http://www.adammarelliphoto.com) has some amazing articles on street shooting, but one series that I learned from– and has helped me to rethink how I frame my photos– is his Surrealist Manifesto series. Learn about the geometry and optical reframing that Adam points out through his analyses of HCB’s photographs.

Read more here: http://www.adammarelliphoto.com/2012/01/surrealist-manifesto/

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12 Cool 35mm Film Cameras to Buy

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12 Cool 35mm Film Cameras to Buy

Some very delicious looking cameras on there– my choice of Leica M6 and Canon Canonet are both on there 🙂

Andy Bond: A Tourist in His Own Town (Leica Blog)

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Andy Bond: A Tourist in His Own Town (Leica Blog)

The Leica Blog is always an interesting forum for different users of Leica, like myself. I recently discovered Andy Bond on this website, and am in love with his work. I appreciate that he mixes his opinions between digital and film, and introduces strange juxtapositions. Have a look.

The Shadow photographers #1: SH Roh

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In these series I hope to introduce some of the most compelling street (and non-street) photographers who have inspired me to start or keep shooting. The double entendre is that Street photographers tend to experiment with and work with available light (which tend to be shadows), and also tend to stay hidden out of “popular” photographers (dominated by studio photographers, landscape photographers, etc). I hope that you will enjoy discovering these hidden talents as much as I do. Remember, there is always a street photographer near you, somewhere…

Today I am pleased to introduce to you SH Roh from South Korea. A designer and full-time photographer, SH Roh works in Korea as a full-time designer and photographer-for-hire. I am constantly inspired by his photography of special events and settings– for he has a unique eye for subjects and unusual lighting, especially in concerts, musicals, and other events for which he is hired. He has mastered both extremely dark, grave photos but portray equally well bright subjects. I always see his Nike+ running feeds (Today I ran X miles…) and am convinced he is secretly preparing for a triathlon.

SH Roh has held numerous exhibits in the last few years, each with a special theme and unique purpose. He has recently experimented with overlaying text on top of photos– an unusual inclusion in the post-processing world. Whether he is on a new project with his Nikon D3, shooting in the streets with his Fuji X100, or sharing a picture of his latest meal, this photographer is certainly one to follow. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing this humble photographer, and hope you will enjoy his works as much as I do.

Q. Can you tell me more about yourself?

A. Hello. I am Roh Sh, a photographer. I majored not in photography, but in Korean language and literature. I am currently working full-time as both a designer and a photographer. I especially like capturing photos of musicians, and am also involved in design in the same area.

Q. When did you start taking photos?

A.  I began when I was very young. I happened to chance upon a film camera, and I’ve taken pictures ever since.

Q. Can you tell me what your shooting style is like?

A. It’s a bit difficulty to narrow down my shooting style to just one style. However, when I am working, I hope that people can hear the music in my photos. Rather than a still picture, I like motion in my photos– that’s probably how I describe my own style.

Q. What equipment/gear do you use (camera, lens, flash, tripod, etc.)?

A. Normally these days, I tend to bring along my Fujifilm X100, and for special events (photographing musicians or need a special lens for the setting I will be shooting in) I use my Nikon D3. Lenses change depending on the situation.

Q. Your photos tend to be very dark (both in exposure and subject). Is there a special reason for this?

A. I don’t try to capture a specific emotion of any sort, but I used to try and incorporate sad memories– parting with a person whom I admire, or parting ways with a loved one– so I unintentionally end up incorporating these feelings into my photos and essays.

Q. Do you feel there is a big difference when you take pictures for a job, versus for enjoyment (i.e. street photography)? What specifically makes it different for you?

A. I think even within a “job” photo, there needs to be further categorization. For a client-based photography job (ad photo or commercial photo, including performances), the client usually wants to blend my characteristic style of color and traits into their subject. Other than that, I don’t realize a specific difference between my jobs versus my so-called photography for enjoyment. The reason for this is, photography is about the study of the subject and its reinterpretation. And if you put those together, that’s an exhibition. That’s why I try to find subjects in my “leisure” photos (snapshots) and reinterpret them, so if we have to find a difference between them I guess it’s a difference in the depth of the photos.

Q. You take a lot of photos of musicians, how is it different from just normal snapshots? What inspires you to take their photos?

A. To take a musician’s photo, you need to draw out their unique characteristics. Especially during concerts, there are moments that will repeat themselves so I can never let my guard down and get absorbed into the shoot. It seems obvious, but I tend to listen to the artist’s works tens, if not hundreds of times before I go into a photo shoot. I want to find the right timing in the beat of the music and find myself the shot I need, and usually is the key to getting results I can be proud of. I love music, and I coincidentally was hired to take photos of the Jarasum International Jazz Festival– and that’s where I started. Rather than trying to subtly portray the music I try to get energetic and vibrant shots, and through that I’ve discovered more musicians both directly and indirectly, which has allowed me to expand my career further into the musician’s realm.

Q. I know you recently held an exhibition. What was it about?

A. For my first exhibition in 2012, I held an exhibition called “Great Expectations” for a month in the Modern Art Museum (inside of Hongik University). One of the reasons I prepared this exhibition was that although I’d used many subjects and had held many exhibitions, I’d never used the Pansori (Korean musical performance) as a subject. I wanted to add the fleeting aspect of photography with the theme of continuity, and went to visit the Pansori performers themselves. Then I received the lyrics for the performance and engraved the lyrics on with gilt (gold leaves). Many visited, and I received feedback saying that it was a very meaningful exhibition. I was fortunate enough to be called back by the Jeonju World Sound Festival for an extended exhibition.

Q. What’s your advice for newly aspiring photographers?

A. Many ask “how do you take good pictures”– I get that question a lot too. That’s when I suggest– take many photos! This doesn’t mean take more for the sake of taking more and increasing your shutter count, but rather cherish each picture you take along with the experience and unique subjects brought by it. In addition there are a lot of “Photoshop retouching” books that are released by the waves these days, but I suggest instead find a photographer you like and buy their photo book– and imitate them. I think that will be a better way to study and improve your photography.

You can see more of SH Roh’s works at www.rohsh.com, and follow him on twitter @rohsh.

As always, Like me on Facebook (near the top of the article too!) or follow me on Twitter for the latest updates! A comment is also much appreciated, sir or madam. A coffee for thee (or cookie, if thou prefers) shall be in order when we meet.

&&Phil

Robin Wong’s Review of the New Olympus OM-D E-M5

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Robin Wong’s Review of the New Olympus OM-D E-M5

Robin Wong, an avid user of Olympus gear, has reviewed in much depth the practical usage of this newly hyped camera. For both amateurs and professionals looking at this micro four-thirds camera, go ahead and take a look at the video for more!

Source: http://robinwong.blogspot.com/2012/03/olympus-om-d-e-m5-review-batu-caves-kl.html

My First Roll of Film (and the 10 Pictures I’m Not Embarrassed Enough to Hide)

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One sunny Wednesday morning I walked into my local film developer and lo and behold– $15.14 to get it developed and put on CD. I still can’t get used to the idea of having to pay so much for the process, but maybe I’ll swallow that pill soon enough.

The location of shooting was in Berkeley, CA and I shot 37 exposures of a Kodak 125 Plus-X (PX). But before babbling on and making excuses, here are 10 keepers I won’t hide underneath a rock. Because, you know, the rest are that good. Really. I just don’t want to show it to you, that’s all. Mm-hm.

Without further ado, here they are:

“Bear Rider”

“Still Life of Law Student”

“Heart of Darkness”

“Better Together”

“Awkward”

“Afterhours”

“Architects of Love”

“Two bears, two men”

“One Way Runner”

“We Have Questions to Ask You”

Some lessons (painfully) learned, for those shooting a film camera:

  • Overexpose rather than underexpose. Not that perfect is bad, but if you need to grab a shot quick and you’re switching around the aperture, turn the dial towards the larger exposure meter. I lost too many shots because they were too dark.
  • I should buy a meter stick. No really, I should. It’s not because I’m American, I really don’t have a sense of what a meter is yet, so I can’t pre-focus correctly. That and I look like a pervert if I keep pointing the camera at my subject until they come into focus (which, in itself is a millisecond).
  • Picture looks washed out? Up the contrast dial on Lightroom/Photoshop and that should help it a bit. No other dial on LR/PS will help a film photo.

Man, developing is expensive. But a film/negative scanner is even more expensive ($600?! What did I just read!?)

&& Phil

3 Ways Film Changed My Life

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“Gorgonic” -by Phillipe Han

Shoot, chimp, shoot, chimp, switch to macro mode, shoot shoot, chimp. This used to be my routine as I emptied out my 8GB memory card on my Fujifilm X100. I thought I couldn’t be happier– I was wrong. Maybe I could be happier.

One uncontented day I came across Eric Kim’s blog post on why you should shoot street photography in film. I went through the list and then convinced myself that I needed to get myself a film camera.

After trading away my X100 for a Leica M6, I was overwhelmed. I won’t make the story longer than it should be.

1. Film made me realize how scarce a true “decisive moment” is.

Us digital shutterbugs are used to shooting away, with an unlimited roll as far as the Gigabytes can see. But after countless hours tiring myself on Lightroom, I realized something– I take way too many useless and unfeeling photos.

Photos of people walking on the street.

Meaningless juxtapositions of billboards next to people.

Cold, unmeaningful, stale stares.

With only 36 exposures per film (and, let’s face it, most of us aren’t diligent enough to carry around a Bikkuri Fujifilm Film case), you’re limited to what’s left on the film, usually less than 36.

As trite as this may sound, this forced me to look at the world from a different perspective. It made me more daring, forcing me to think, “I have to get that shot”, whereas I would have taken at least 50 different pictures to get to the same shot with my DSLR or Fujifilm X100.

This means framing without the cropping. That’s it.

2. Film processing is obscenely expensive.

At least in America. Maybe one day I’ll dare to develop my own photos.

3. Film photography is beautiful precisely because you make mistakes shooting.

Before some of the nice folks on Eric Kim’s facebook page pointed me to the ISO 1600 setting, I experimented with different ISO’s because I literally didn’t know what ISO I had to be shooting at. I tried the Sunny 16 rule (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunny_16) on my DSLR and I realized it was a rule of thumb that allowed reasonable exposures– not excellent ones. I didn’t know what shutter speeds were the “right” speeds to shoot at, so I ended up horribly underexposing my photos, or overflooding them with too much light.

But it was beautiful.

I will upload them later, but I realized that DSLRs try to meter exactly what the “correct” exposure is for each photo.

Photographs, while sometimes better with a perfect exposure (think– studio, or portraits), benefit from the human touch– the imperfection that makes us wonder what’s wrong with the photo.

Look at this photo from Linda Stokes, a photographer from my G+ network:

“February 18th, 2012” -by Linda Stokes

(Source: https://plus.google.com/photos/109501436364165187027/albums/5710684596314086593)

Maybe the exposure was intentional, maybe it wasn’t. But one thing for sure is that if you had aimed a DSLR at that crane, it would’ve thrown flash at the crane, making for an ugly, “correctly” exposed photo. The way this shadow was executed, with a bit of thinking, made it a piece more poignant and worth much brooding over.

Back in 2009, I used to shoot at f/1.4 only, being a newbie to the DSLR world. I shot this photo below in Barcelona, but only after accidentally flipping the shutter speed from 1/320 to 1/1000:

 

“One Day in Barcelona” -by Phillipe Han

The result was that it didn’t capture as much of the colors as I had intended, but I liked it. This moment, as trivial as it sounds, remains an important very dear to my shutterbug heart.

Lesson learned: let’s keep a human touch to all we shoot, even behind the cold wiring of an LCD.

Maybe I’m wrong, maybe not.

——————

This blog won’t be a simple “how to” or “Shoot X in 10 steps” blog. I won’t pretend to know everything about photography, because I’m far from it and still learning. But I will share my honest, down-to-earth opinions. I want to meet and talk with as many other people as possible, so talk to me.

How did film change your life?

&Phillipe

Talk to me on Twitter @phantasyphoto.

Invite me to G+ Hangouts.

Critique my work on 500px.

Agree to disagree with me in this blog.

Thanks for reading, now let me go develop some film.