Instagram – From Coping to Mildly Liking It

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Trying to Coexist With Instagram

Since starting this blog my feelings toward Instagram have evolved. I don’t want to say they have transformed because I still have some misgivings about the photo/video sharing platform. But since acquiring access to it, via an iPad, I have found the immediacy and spontaneousness of the experience offered me something I did not expect to like.

In the beginning I succumbed because so many of my friends use Instagram to give me and their followers a glimpse into their lives and activities in real time. This kind of immediacy creates a  transparency that can be disturbing and interesting at the same time. However, it also offers the possibility to artistically express a moment of time without divulging too much about one’s private thoughts. This is what I did not expect to like.

The Instagram camera, filters and controls are blunt tools for someone who has used conventional photography gear and software most of their life. There are enough tools to yield a variety of visual effects which can differentiate one person’s image making from others. Even so, a lot of the images I see posted via Instagram seem pretty similar.

The way a photographer can distinguish themselves from the rest of the Instagramers is in the choice of subject matter. For instance my choice of subject matter and eye for light differentiates me from many users who chronicle their daily lives and travels. I try to point the camera inwards to express a personal feeling even in the most unglamorous places, such as a corner in my home where light and shadow create a mood in abstract space. Or the odd place in the outside world where I find connectivity and can share on the spot. It is a phenomenon to me that I could be in a public space, pick up a wifi signal from somewhere and be able to transmit a personal, visual expression to people I know who live all over the world.

I am finding a way to use the platform to express myself and share my life without compromising my artistic principals.

As always, evolve and find a way to coexist.



Blast From The Past – The 90’s A Fitness Shoot

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In the late nineties I had the opportunity to photograph three women who were fitness competitors. At the time of our shoot these women were at their peak fitness with the goal of being at 5% body fat. I found photographing them very exciting, a great figure photography experience. Muscular bodies offer a great opportunity for showing skin texture through dramatic lighting. When photographing skin, darker tones are more interesting, especially on muscular bodies. Curves, bumps, ripples and texture are all more prominent.

At 5% body fat I have heard that most people are in a crabbier mood a lot of the time from being hungry. Even so, these women were perfectly nice to me.

My lighting consisted of two softboxes on either side of the set which provided the main light. An umbrella behind the camera provided fill light. These images were of course shot on film. For these and other portraits I would under expose and over develop the film for more contrast.