"Hindsight is always twenty-twenty. " Billy Wilder
"Hindsight is an exact science. " Guy Bellamy

31 December 2011

See, Learn, Do

Hong Kong, Image © PeteM2020

I recently saw an exhibition by German fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh. The 30 odd images were all chosen by one of his close friends and spanned a few years of Peter’s career.


The prints were large, imposing and superbly printed, but I was puzzled by the choice of images. Almost disappointed. Why were those pictures chosen?


Next to the gallery was a small theatre showing a ½ hour documentary of Peter working with the models and discussing his vision with the art directors. The film was fast paced and the dialogue was in English, French and German. Despite taxing my linguistic skills beyond their limits, it was easy to see why he has become the favourite photographer for many of the world’s top models. The film had a profound impact on my thinking.


I went back and looked at the exhibition again – and now, understanding the context, the images suddenly became alive. An “aha” moment!


Am I capable of emulating his style – probably not? Did I learn something – absolutely!

Antwerp, Image © PeteM2020

04 December 2011

Contre-jour

Little did I know the word "silhouette" derives from the name of Etienne De Silhouette a French finance minister who, in 1759, was forced by France's credit crisis during the Seven Year War to impose severe economic demands upon the French people, particularly the wealthy.

Because of de Silhouette's austere economies, his name became eponymous with anything done or made cheaply. Prior to the advent of photography, silhouette profiles cut from black card were the cheapest way of recording a person's appearance.
Hong Kong 2011.   Image  © PeteM2020
In photography silhouetting occurs when there is a lighting ration of 16:1 or greater. If the image is created by natural light, the technique is often referred to as  “countre-jour”. Caught this image in a shopping arcade one evening.

Source:Wikipedia

23 November 2011

Brugge

Image © PeteM2020

Also known as the Venice of the North, a picturesque town situated in the north-west corner of Belgium. Established as a diamond trading post in the 14th century – but now 100% tourism.



Of course, first the obligatory “tourist shot” - caught in the golden hour:


Image © PeteM2020

Having been inspired by David's “canal shots” from Venice – here is one I found in Brugge:
Image © PeteM2020




19 November 2011

Art Saturation


Central Paris feels like being in one large art gallery. Sure, there are the well known galleries like  Musee Du Louvre and  Musee D'Orsay, but there are also  endless smaller, and often free places to visit. Caught this beauty at Le Petit Palais, Museum of Fine Arts, owned by Paris City Hall.
Image © PeteM2020
Wondering the streets on a rainy morning, I found temporary shelter in this stairwell. Despite being in a fashionable part of the city, it was rather dark and dilapidated  - none the less photogenic. All pure enjoyment. 
Image © PeteM2020

14 November 2011

Street Cleaning

It had not been raining for quite a few days, but there were still puddles in some of the gutters. This morning I realised why! The Parisian street sweepers had spent the early hours of the morning sprucing  up the city's pavements for all to safely enjoy (Big dog population!).

Image © PeteM2020
Reflections can be tricky to photograph – the reflected image is at infinity, whilst the foreground, in this case, is about 1.5 meters away. Even with a small aperture, depth of field is still not adequate to get a completely sharp image.  Caught this one at Place des Vosges. 

13 November 2011

HK

Hong Kong never ceases to amaze me. Here is a turbulent blend of east meets west - the adoption of the best and the worst of both cultures.
Image © PeteM2020

Despite having visited this bustling city frequently during the past 30 years, I can still  get lost in this ever changing and rapidly expanding metropolis. However, the people have remained as charming, good looking and engaging as always.

Image © PeteM2020
Although western style food is now slowly finding its way into the mainstream dining – traditional HK food still remains supreme. Shopping in HK has always been an exciting experience, but with globalisation – HK has sadly lost its gloss as a bargain hunters shopping capital.

Image © PeteM2020


04 November 2011

Best Wishes

Image © PeteM2020

I thought this version of my etching would be appropriate for the last working day at Chisholm.

Good luck to all with the end of year assessment and the very best for your next years’ endeavours.

29 October 2011

Etching


I asked my wife to “Come and have a look at my etchings” to which she retorted: “Haven’t heard that one for a while!”
Etching + Photoshop, Image © PeteM2020
Learning the different printmaking techniques has been very enjoyable - pity I did not have more time to dedicate to it. The use of fine paper stock, combined with the tactile feel and  look of the final print, has great appeal to me. 

For the next stage of printmaking I would like to explore current photogravure techniques - combining digital photography with traditional printmaking.  Might be an exciting alternative to traditional wet darkroom printing. 

Let’s see what 2012 brings!


27 October 2011

Melbourne Excursion

I would think most Melbourne photo excursions would have images of Flinders Street Station included. So for the record, here is my version!

Flinders Street Station - Image © PeteM2020

I have put together a separate web page with more of my images from the outing. Just click here for the: MELBOURNE EXCURSION WEB PAGE.

Thanks David

16 October 2011

Australian Modern Masterpieces

Painting by Jeffry Smart - Art Gallery of NSW

The Art Gallery of Ballarat is currently having a fabulous exhibition of paintings on loan from the Art Gallery of NSW.  Artists including William Dobell, Margaret Olley, Grace Cossington Smith, Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, John Brack, Margaret Preston, Jeffrey Smart and Brett Whiteley. For those of you that did not make it to Sydney, grab this opportunity to see some great Australian works. Ballarat is only an hour’s drive from Melbourne.
Painting by Alan Moore -  Art Gallery of Ballarat
“A Guiding Hand” is an exhibition of the galleries collection of prints. The five Directors who have led the gallery for the past 44 years put this fine collection together. Many well known Australian artists are represented, and for me Lionel Lindsey’s wood block prints always delight. A couple of his original wood blocks are also on display, showing the incredibly fine details carved into the wood.

Here is a link to the Art Gallery of Ballarat for more info. 


Botanical Garden, Ballarat - Image © PeteM2020
Whilst in Ballarat have a look at the large Botanical Garden - the spring flower display is as impressive as the numerous statues. There is an avenue with 25 bronze busts of past Australian Prime Ministers, but I have to admit that some of them I have never heard of!
"Window Art" © PeteM2020
The town is dotted with interesting, grand old buildings. A lot of them are still in fine original condition and very much in use. In one of them, whilst pointing the Percy at the porcelain, I faced an old window with coloured glass distorting the landscape. Wonder what any passers by looking in would make of it all?

10 October 2011

Tea toning

Image © PeteM2020
Here is another B&W Photoshop experiment. To bring alive and extended the tonal range of traditional black and white prints, the old darkroom alchemists very successfully toned images with tea. 

Despite being a lengthy, time consuming and rather smelly process, it is still practiced today by diehard darkroom enthusiasts. Although the results can be quite distinctive and great, I think I’ll stick to the Photoshop variant!


30 September 2011

Local Galleries


 “Desert Country” at the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery is showing Aboriginal art spanning the past 40 years. The exhibition includes works by Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarri, Daisy Nakamarra, Rover Thomas, Nura Rupert and Utopia artists Emily Kame Kngwarreye and Kathleen Petyarre. The exquisite details and rich colour in some of the paintings are quite outstanding. 


I was less taken by the Robin Boyd exhibition – homage to Robin Boyd and the award-winning houses he designed and built at Frankston and on the Mornington Peninsula in the mid to late 50’s. For me, having grown up surrounded by innovative and clever Scandinavian architecture from the same era, I must admit to be less than impressed by what was on display. 


The McClelland Gallery has currently three exhibitions on. 


“Dreamweavers” takes the viewer on a strange and enchanting course through the worlds of dreams, nightmares and imagination. The visually appealing combination of sculpture, digital media (great light-boxes), photography and painting should be a source of inspiration for every IDM student.


“Landscapes and Vignettes” – etchings, dry point and aquatints by John Farmer. The extensive collection on display is a testament to what can be achieved by skill, dedication and attention to detail. The tonal range he achieved in his prints is remarkable - a must see.


“The Syndicate” - a sculpture installation by Simon Gilby. There are ten life-size human figures made in steel, cast pewter and resin. The steel filigree work and surface patterning combined with clever lighting brings the figures alive. Shame photography is not allowed in the gallery – these figures would have been perfect for the B&W assignment.

27 September 2011

LensWork


I am catching up on my reading and have just finished the October 2007 edition of LensWork, a US periodical dedicated to black and white photography. (OK, I am a bit behind in my reading, but I’m working on it!)

Contrary to all predictions, old-fashioned black and white film and traditional darkroom work are having quite a revival. My local photo supplier tells me that he is now selling more film, chemicals and toners than he did 5 years ago.

I’m quite tempted. A few rolls of Kodak TriX or some Ilford HP5 -  - hmm.

Image © PeteM2020

In the meanwhile here are a couple of digital B&W images manipulated in Photoshop. At least I did not end up with smelly and stained hands from the toning process!

Image © PeteM2020

10 September 2011

Dry point


The Paddington Reservoir Sunken Garden offers a relaxing oasis for the community to enjoy with its immaculate landscaping, boardwalk, lighting and furniture. Whilst most communities are busily removing graffiti  - here it has been carefully restored!

This HDR image was taken of the eastern chamber and processed using Photomatix. A dry point plate was then made using that image as a guide. With the plate prepared, a black and white edition was printed on Dutch Etching paper.

One of the prints was scanned and then mixed and matched with the HDR image in Photoshop. This is what I ended up with! 
Image copy PeteM2020
A larger version is on ONE IN THE EYE , my new web site.

08 September 2011

One in the eye

I have now put together my new website showing some of this year’s work. Web design and coding is to me a perfect marriage between art and science. However, despite my typing speed being slow, painfully inaccurate and the coding taking forever – there is a sense of elation when the site is uploaded, working, and there for the world to see. Long live the www!
Image © PeteM2020
The hard part done, I can now “populate” the pages with my art works as they are completed. Here is a link to the site: ONE IN THE EYE 

22 August 2011

HDR Revisited

I find night photography and HDR a heady mix.  Add a bit of rain to enhance reflections and saturate the colours and the image becomes quite dynamic.


Image © PeteM2020
Click on the image for a larger version

This image was caught in Docklands on a grisly, dark, wet and cold winters evening. At the time I wondered what I was doing there, but having processed the image in Photomatix Pro, I now feel the outing was well worth the trouble.


Photomatix Pro has just been updated to version 4.1 – the update is free. The download (Mac) was about 10Mb and installation proved trouble free.

11 August 2011

Seahorse

The seahorse linocut worked quite well as an embossed print, but the black and white versions looked far too busy. Not a great result. Had a go at a few different printing techniques – not much improvement. Obviously I have still a lot to learn about linocuts and printmaking!


However, having spent a number of hours cutting out the design and printing it, I was not quite ready to give up. I scanned the print into Photoshop and had a bit of a play – this is one of the results:   

Image © PeteM2020

24 July 2011

Relief printing

Expressed in a previous blog entry, printing has always fascinated me. A well-composed letterpress page is not only a joy to the eye, but if printed on good stock also exhibits great tactile qualities. Sadly the art of hand-composed pages is all but lost.

Image © PeteM2020

The quickly prepared and printed linocuts we did on Friday gave me a sense of revisiting the old art form. Then I added a bit of Photoshop, stirred gently and ended up with the best of both worlds:- 

Image © PeteM2020

21 July 2011

Distracted

Image © PeteM2020

I have not had much time to pursue my art interests in past few weeks. However, today I managed to find a couple of hours to visit the 2011 Archibald Prize Exhibition at Tarrawarra Museum of Art. Although I had visited the exhibition in Sydney – to see it again with fresh eyes was very rewarding.  Amazing how an exciting exhibition can quickly improve one’s outlook and temporarily blot out problems. 

10 July 2011

Fragile

Melbourne June 2011, Image © PeteM2020
My inspiration for this image came from Roger Dean, who designed the album covers and stage–sets for the band YES. Fragile – their first album (1971) started a long tradition of album covers showing Dean’s fantasy worlds.      
Click on the image for a larger version

07 July 2011

Circus

A young Indian woman, wearing a colourful silk scarf, sat opposite me on the homebound train the other evening. I got quite captivated by the colours on the scarf – not only did they evoke happy memories of travelling in India but they also became the inspiration for the strong riotous colours in this large panoramic collage.
Image © PeteM2020
Click on the image for a larger version

05 July 2011

Vienna: Art & Design

Don’t miss this exhibition, which is currently on at the NGV. I spent quite a few hours there today totally absorbed by the many and varied works on display. Gustav Klimt and his fellow artists are well known and admired, but I was equally fascinated by Otto Wagner’s architecture.


The full size replica of the fa├žade of the “Die Zeit” building was to me worth the visit by itself. Not just the incredible design and workmanship, but I was also very much taken by the font face used in the signage.


If you are interested in paintings, drawings, photography, furniture, glass, silver or fashion of that time – it’s all there. Fantastic stuff!

03 July 2011

artRage!

Seb encouragingly gave me a quick introduction to the free version of Artrage a few weeks ago. It didn’t look too difficult, so I decided to give it a go! The interface took a bit of fiddling with before I came to grips with the various levers and buttons scattered around the perimeter of the artwork. However, the supplied manual greatly helped to make sense of it all. Thankfully, the basic version of Artrage has only a few options to confuse a novice with!
Image © PeteM2020
I found my Wacom tablet indispensible with this program. For me, drawing is one of those procedures where something seems to get lost in the translation between brain and hand. Drawing with a mouse would only cause further haphazard and unintentional synaptic transmissions!
Click on the image for a larger version.

30 June 2011

Brumbies

Melbourne 2011, © PeteM2020

Carousel, merry–go–round, roundabout or flying horses – I do not know which is the favoured name in Melbourne. (Comments please!) However, this one is definitely of the Australian variety with the typical outback themes painted on the canopy.

HDR photography brought the colours alive on what was an otherwise very gloomy, dark and cold evening – not a child in sight!

28 June 2011

Cimmerian Shade

Melbourne June 2011, Image © PeteM2020

There are a few brief magical moments as the sun is setting, when the city briefly becomes just black and white. Within minutes the buildings light up, the neon lights flicker and the streetlights herald in the evening. 


This image was caught a few days ago – coinciding with the winter solstice, the time of the year when the transition from day to night seems to me to be at it’s fastest.
Click on the image for a larger version.

26 June 2011

Glass-fancier

I just can’t resist! Glass facades and windows with reflections hold a strong fascination. Anybody that has read this blog will have noted several previous posts about the topic – and here is yet another entry.
Melbourne 2011, Image © PeteM2020
Late afternoon light, HDR (high dynamic range) photography plus a bit of Photoshop achieved the desired result. There will be more. Promise!

19 June 2011

Disjecta Membra



Story Board, props and a shooting list was all ready for the “Distorted Self Portrait” – but as I was driving down from the Hills to the designated class – I came to the realisation that my original idea was #%^&!!!

Nothing like a traffic jam to allow the mind to wander – by the time I reached my destination-I had a completely new idea formulated (and the car still in one piece). It was quickly filmed, and I felt elated. But when I came to edit it – I realized I had another #%^& on my hands.

A perfect blend of Pinot Noir and poem by Edward Hirsch called “Self Portrait” gave me new inspiration – Disjecta Membra evolved.

Disjecta Membra (lat) -  “scattered limbs” 

17 June 2011

Not made for walking

without me
my shoes on the floor
so still

Haiku by Kuniharu Shimizu
Image © PeteM2020


G’s new acquisitions proudly modelled at Paddington Reservoir (Sydney). Serious heels -not for amateurs! Go, go G!

15 June 2011

Eadweard Muybridge (1830 -1904)



The basis for this stop-motion animation is from Muybridge’s original images. The images were modified in Photoshop and the animation was put together in After Effects.

In 1872, a race-horse owner, had taken a position on a popularly-debated question of the day: whether all four of a horse's hooves are off the ground at the same time during a gallop. Up until this time, most paintings of galloping horses showed the front legs extended forwards and the rear legs extended backwards. Stanford sided with this assertion, called "unsupported transit", and took it upon himself to prove it scientifically.

Stanford sought out Muybridge and hired him to settle the question.
Muybridge used a series of large cameras that used glass plates placed in a line, each one being triggered by a thread as the horse passed. Later a clockwork device was used. The images were copied in the form of silhouettes onto a disc and viewed in a machine called a Zoopraxiscope. This became an intermediate stage towards motion pictures or cinematography.

(Source:wikipedia)

13 June 2011

Art, art, art!

What an exceptionally successful trip we had to Sydney – well-organised, good company, spectacular art and even the weather was kind.

Some of the art I saw was just amazing - some, I may understand in the next few days and some had connotations of “The Emperors New Clothes”. But, as I have come to understand - that’s art.

I thoroughly enjoyed our few hectic days of total art emersion – thank you David for another well-planned excursion.
Image © PeteM2020

31 May 2011

Quadtone

Image © PeteM2020

Making the 109  B&W Photo Essay rekindled my interest in monotone images.  Rather than letting colours set the mood of the image – varying the shade and contrast does it instead.

Sepia became a popular way of giving warmth and mood to stark B&W images. Many photographers would furthermore choose to print family images on warm coloured, heavy stock to give the photographs a touch of class. Edge scalloping / torn edges and embossing were further enhancements – techniques now the sole domain of fine art print makers.

Today, Photoshop has made the reproduction of the old art forms sepia, duotone, tritone and quadtone a simple matter. By learning colour theory – the judicious use of colour tinting can subtly change the mood of a B&W photograph to suit the intended message of the image.

Sadly, small images on the web does little justice to an art perfected by old masters.

29 May 2011

Addictive additives

The photographic community seems to have two sharply divided camps when it comes to HDR imaging. People either love or hate the pictures. For me, it was love at first sight. 


I can still remember my first attempts at the additive colour process in the darkroom. Very long hours spent in a small, horribly smelly and stuffy room handling corrosive chemicals – all in pursuit of that elusive champion colour image. Sadly, the failure rate was frustratingly high. 


However, Andy Warhol was at that time perfecting the craft of making those strangely coloured  “failed” images into an art form. That was great for morale – my failures were now cutting edge photography. Just a pity the buying public did not share my newfound enthusiasm for my take on the art form!


These Photomatix / Photoshop processed HDR images are the result from a quick trip to Southbank on Saturday afternoon:


Image © PeteM2020

Image © PeteM2020
Click on the images for a larger version

25 May 2011

Disconnect

However much I find the drawing classes challenging, I always have that sense of elation when I have actually produced a finished piece. Whether the drawing is good or bad is largely immaterial – for me the process and engagement is what is now more important. My recurring mantra is “learning to see “–  and having studied the life of successful photographers  - they all suggest that drawing or sketching is an important part of that “learning to see” process. 


So although the connection between hand(s) and brain frequently feels like the image below – I’ll keep at it! 
Hobart, Tasmania
Image © PeteM2020

24 May 2011

1+1+1+1+1+1=1!

Creative accounting I hear –absolutely! It comes in many guises. This is how it goes: Take five 15Mb images of the same subject but at different exposures (derivatives).  Apply some fancy mathematical logarithm, choose a colour to suit the mood and you end up with one HDR image of about 53Mb. What happened to the missing 22Mb? Politicians loosely refer to that kind of calculation as a “Black Hole”, whilst the Tax Office would suspect Tax Evasion. (The Tax Office should hire more artists).

The bankers are smarter – they add another totally unrelated 20Mb picture into the equation – pull some leavers, do some jiggery pokery and – hey presto - a 120Mb masterpiece. So far I am following their lead:
Image copy PeteM2020
However, the American Bankers have further refined the game. When recently unable to get rid of their toxic art, they cleverly managed to convince Congress to purchase the bad stuff with taxpayer’s money. The Bankers, of course, retain the good stuff for further sales. Now that’s the mastery all artists should perfect!

22 May 2011

Japanese lacquer art

Wandering around our garden late this afternoon, the amazing autumn colours brought back powerful memories of our visits to Japan. As a ray of sun momentarily lit up leaves on a copse of maples, the landscape briefly looked like a finely decorated Japanese lacquered screen. The recent rain and the darkening sky further enhanced the vivid spectacle.
Acer Palmatum (Polymorphum), Olinda, Victoria
Image © PeteM2020
How often do we see something and say –“If I just had a camera at hand!” Well, this time I did, and as luck would have it, the camera had a long lens attached and was set up for high speed HDR bracketing!
(Click on the image for a larger version) 

18 May 2011

MPRG

My long journey on Tuesday to the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery was richly rewarded by the fabulous “In Search of Utopia “ exhibition. On display were works by artists from Australia, China, France and UK. One can only marvel at the innovative ideas and the artist’s ability to harness the power of current computer software to produce some stunning works. For me, the “Interactive Typewriter” and the “Xanadu 2009” HD video installation were amongst the highlights.

That said – the old-fashioned shadow puppets installation was still fascinating, possibly because of its large size and sheer simplicity.
The image only shows a small part of the installation
Image © PeteM2020
The talk by Isobel Knowles and Van Sowerwine was inspirational - taking us through their work from humble beginnings to their current rather sophisticated 45 min interactive stop motion masterpiece. It must take a fair dose of enthusiasm and dedication to produce a video of more than 33,000 frames. That they have remained friends after all that work speaks volumes for their unwavering belief in their art form and their symbiotic collaboration.

Finishing the day at Mornington pier for an open-air lunch and some pencil drawings (under expert tuition) was the culmination of a great day out. Thanks David.

14 May 2011

Photomatix

Image © PeteM 2020
As with most new software I find playing with it is the only way of coming to grips with it. My starting point is 5 raw images exposed at -2,-1, 0, +1 and +2 stops – mostly using a tripod, but I am also pleasantly impressed with Photomatix’s ability to align 5 handheld shots (can’t just be my steady hand!).
Image © PeteM 2020
After that its play, play, play with the myriad of sliders and settings until I have an image with some resemblance of reality, yet enhanced. The processed image is then brought into Photoshop for final adjustments – size, curves and sharpening. The latter can be done in Photomatix, but I have not found any user controls for the sharpening process.

My next step using Photomatix - probably make images far removed from anything resembling reality!
(Click on either of the images for a larger version)

11 May 2011

Smoke in her Eyes

I decided to experiment with masks, blending modes and other stuff in After Effects. As for artistic merit – well let’s rather agree that this was just another learning exercise.

10 May 2011

HDR Panorama

I have done further experiments with Photomatix – it’s quite a learning process to find out how to get the most out of the bracketed raw files. At times the results are quite surreal and make landscapes look like they belong on a different planet. Still much to learn!
Image © PeteM2020

This panorama was made from stitching together a couple of HDR files. I am pleased with the result, bearing in mind how dark it was in the creek today. (f8 1/10sec @800iso, +/- 2 stops) The final psd file was about 120Mb and has been squeezed down to about 50Kb for the blog entry! To see a slightly larger version, just click on the image.

As I have as yet not received my licence key for Photomatix, this image carries the watermarks.

06 May 2011

Wangi Wiggle

I spent a few days last week sailing around Wangi Wangi, a small hamlet at the edge of Lake Macquarie, NSW. The weather was changing frequently and on this particular morning I found the cloudscapes rather exciting. So whilst the skipper was doing some minor repairs, I took the opportunity to set up the camera and make this short stop-motion animation. In hindsight, I should have taken the images at a higher frequency – next time!

02 May 2011

HDR

Image © PeteM2020
This, my first HDR image, was made using 5 images bracketed -2, -1, 0 , +1, +2  stops and then processed in Photomatix Pro

01 May 2011

Pile of Bricks

Image © PeteM2020

The humble brick has lost its glory as the prime building material in current constructions. Render and glass reign supreme in today’s slick architecture – but I still have a soft spot for bricks. When I found this artistically arranged pile of bricks, I felt obliged to record it. I have gathered a few of my images on a web page – just click here to view it!

25 April 2011

City Shape

It’s been a long time since I last visited the Docklands area. So on a recent fine day I hopped off the train at Southern Cross station and walked about the precinct for a few hours – eventually ending up, via Southbank, at Flinders Street Station. Never ceases to amaze me how much more of my surroundings I observe when I am out and about actively collecting a new batch of images. I came home with a couple of hundred photographs and I have put a few of them together in this photo essay.

18 April 2011

Bird Art

I was looking for  “texture images” when I almost put my foot in this sticky mess – the poor bird apparently had less luck! But maybe in this single image I have fulfilled all of David’s criteria for texture, colour and contrast?
Image © PeteM2020
Click on the image for a larger version.