Saturday, 1 December 2012

Virtual Essay

Ansel Adams

Ansel Easton Adams was an American photographer and environmentalist, best known for his black-and-white photographs of the American West.

Photographs selected: 

Compared with Photographs: 

(Photograph by: George Steninmetz 
Link: )

(Photograph by: Jason Warren

(Photograph by: Q T Luong

(Photograph by: Martin Gommel

(Photograph by: Philip Hyde

Ansel Adams was a well known photographer who believed in and practised the art of unadulterated  photography.  He left his mark on photography by developing the Zone System which is a way to determine proper exposure and contrast in the final print, and it results in intense clarity and depth.  Many of his photographs were taken with the use of this system.

Each of the photograph selected of Mr. Adams has its own different qualities and emotions connected with them.  Also, they are marvellously lit and cast brilliant shadows and give away beautiful subtle details about the environment and the quality of the scene when it had been photographed.

The photographs I selected to compare with all have the quick visual similarities and somewhat translate similar emotions.   Even though the two images selected are coloured they do not lose any artistic or emotional attributes which is a brilliant work done both by the photographers and Mr. Adams. 

The first photo is of a sand dune.  In the photo by Ansel Adams, he has carefully taken a shot where only one side of the slope is lit.  Also, in that slope he has captured all the texture details.  The photograph in comparison by George Steinmetz is an aerial shot from a different and wider angle.  Yet, the image taken by Mr.Steinmetz has managed to capture many details of the sand dune.  

The Second image by Ansel Adams is one he shot of a valley.  The natural set up for the picture appears to be perfect for a memorable photograph.  One can easily notice the shadowy effect cast by the trees on the mountain and the mountain right behind it finely lit and grabs attention right away.  The moon in the right hand side area is also captured nicely.  The image gives away the feeling of thrill and freedom.  

The image after is of a church entrance in New Mexico, USA.  The exterior entrance has bright sunlight on it but the main building seems to have signs of deterioration.  The picture captures the small texture details nicely.

Tree below is the most interesting one for me.  It gives off an ominous feeling.  Feels alone but not lonely, rather, alone and in peace.  The fog behind the helps accentuate attention on the tree and the emotion it protrudes.  The image I compared with it by Martin Gommel illustrates similar emotions but with a little change.

All the images show fine work done by the photographers and specifically Mr. Ansel Adams.  All his photographs show a sense of warmth and comfort.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012


Kertez and Cartier-Bresson vs smith and salagado

Andre Kertesz was an amazing Hungarian photojournalist who took his first serious photographs in the First World War.  Kertez focused on the lives of soldiers not fighting instead of concentrating more on the war aspect.  He was said to have a knack for grabbing the seemingly unimportant and subtle moments.  Even though the amazing work and the contribution to the evolution of the art of photography he was overlooked his whole life due to him not commenting on his subjects.
Kertesz like Henri Cartier-Bresson was a soldier and contributed in photojournalism.  Cartier- Bresson was born in France and is known as the father of modern photojournalism.  He was a master of candid photography and helped develop the Street Photography / Life Reportage style in photography.  Cartier-Bresson was inspired by Kertesz and cited him few times saying “we all awe him a great deal”. He also was greatly drawn to the surrealist movement.  Martin Munkacsi’s photograph “three boys at Lake Tanganyika” in 1930 attracted him towards photography.  Cartier-Bresson liked anonymity and went to great lengths to maintain it.  He is said to have painted the shiny parts of his camera black.  He never used flash in his photography because he compared it with bringing a gun to a concert.  Henri Cartier-Bresson always dismissed others’ applications of the term “Art” to his photographs.

Sabastiao Salagado is a Brazilian social documentary photographer and a photojournalist.  He is one of the most respected photojournalist working today.  He is well known to show dignity towards his subjects.  Mr. salagado’s respect for his subjects and his determination to draw out the larger meaning of what is happening to them, has created an imagery that testifies to the fundamental dignity of all humanity while simultaneously protesting its violation by war, poverty and other injustices.
W. Eugene Smith was a legendary American photojournalist. He was well known for his vivid World War II photographs and a stubborn personality for refusing to follow the professional standards of photojournalism.  Smith spent most of his career taking pictures of the war and traveling to major countries of the world and capturing milestone events with his camera. 

All four of these photojournalists spent major part of their lives capturing the world turning events and contributing their experiences to the art of photojournalism and photography in general.

Photograph by: Andre Kertesz 

  Photograph by: Sabastiao Selagado 

  Photograph by: Eugene Smith

  Photograph by: Henri Cartier-Bresson 

-What are the main differences and similarities?
Andre Kertesz tended to capture life that’s happening around him. Although Kertesz could not recognize himself having a photojournalistic nature, he was born with it. His work tells the stories as they happened. He had a natural ability to capture realities in the perfect moment.
Henri Cartier-Bresson, one of the founders of Magnum Photos, believed that the main role of photojournalists is reporting. Unlike journals written in text, Cartier-Bresson thought that photojournalism should not take someone’s point of view and the audience should accept the pictures as they are without analyzing them.
Eugene Smith was one of unique photojournalists in a way that he tried to get involved in his work and directly influenced the product while most photojournalists avoided interacting with people they photographed in order to have reporter’s objectiveness. Smith even edited his photos to exaggerate what he wanted to tell through pictures.
Sebastiao Salgado was also a photojournalist who interacted with the people in his photographs. He was more like an opinion writer, not a reporter. Salgado also used a lot of postproduction in his photographs making people who were suffering look beautiful.
Andre Kertesz and Henri Cartier-Bresson had similar photojournalistic styles. They both thought that they need to be invisible when they are taking pictures so that scenes are not interrupted. They told the stories as they happened, and those stories are just found from their surroundings. In addition, they took no point of view in order for the audience to see their photographs as they are.
On the other hand, Eugene Smith and Sebastiao Salgado had a similar style from each other, but it was very different from Kertesz’s and Cartier-Bresson’s. Smith and Salgado both entered the circle being a part of people in their photographs. They believed that it is the way to understand people’s feelings, which can be expressed on their pictures. For instance, Smith even lived with others for about a month before taking pictures. Furthermore, Smith and Salgado applied their opinions to photographs. To do that, they composed and underwent postproduction process. Smith tended to exaggerate what he wanted to show by lighting, and Salgado altered his work such that suffered people look beautiful.

 - What’s the better journalistic approach?
I don’t think there is any better journalistic approach among these legends.  But, I do prefer the approach use by Andre Kertesz and Henri Cartier-Bresson who stayed invisible and anonymous and refused to alter their images for they might drift away from the journalistic idea. 

--Group work.

--Team members:

Mary Jane P. Cortez

Xin Wang

Jun Hee Hong

Vrindar Banker (me)

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Press photography versus art photography

The two images above are among the most famous photojournalism images that I have come across.  Both of them show the power of photography. The second image specifically shows the power and influence of photography on our perceptions and decisions towards other people.

Press Photographs (Photojournalism):

The Above image was taken by W. Eugene Smith of a wounded soldier in Okinawa in 1945.

Vietnamese civilians, Dong Xoai, Vietnam (1965) – Horst Faas

Toronto G20 (2010)

Katangese Youth Movement, Elisabethville, Congo (1961) -Photo by Horst Faas

Art Photography:

Photograph by Man Ray

Photograph by  Ansel Adams

Photograph by  Yousuf Karsh

Photograph by Henri Cartier-Bresson

1. The main difference between press photography and art photography:
In my belief and from what I have noticed press photography or photojournalism is the rawest form of photography.  A photojournalist recognizes the opportunity to capture the moment in a fraction of a second when everyone else is holding their breath.  To a photojournalist a camera is equal to a pen and a mighty strong one at that.  Art photography on the other hand can be a little more polished / processed.  The main similarities between the two forms of photography is that the photographers analyze the situation and capture the moment.  Only, art photographs depend on the artistic touched given and artistic precautions taken to achieve the results whereas press photographs rely more on the message and truth they convey.

2. Is it ethical and acceptable to alter art photographs? Why? Why not?
I believe that altering the art photographs is absolutely ethical and is acceptable.  art photography in my point of view shouldn't only depend on the photographer's abilities because no matter how good he or she is there always will be natural limitations to what they can achieve in the photographs and altering them to enhance them is completely okay.  But, what one considers art is also a factor in how much and what type of altering should be acceptable.

3. Is it ethical and acceptable to alter press photographs? Why? Why not?

Press photography unlike art photography does not reflect the photographer's artistic ability but rather their ability to judge the situation and to take an action.  Photojournalism should stand for truth and honesty.  Altering the images for photojournalism is a quite complicated topic.  It can be easily argued on both sides.  Is it ethical?  In my view it is unethical to alter the images because once you alter them they lose their credibility.  Should it be acceptable? As long as there is some solution to see the altered and original image side by side and the alterations are made to enhance the quality and not to send questionable messages, it should be acceptable.  Press photography from what I believe should always portray an honest, transparent and truthful picture.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

A few other versions of the images I edited :

Heyllow there Gents... and Ladies...

First post.. WooHoo.... finally...

The Images below are the ones that I edited for my Photography class.

Below are the before and afters of the images that were edited:

This was a photo I took last week here in Mississauga.  The sunset was really amazing.


This is after I edited it. Gave it the look of an old picture.


The second image that I used was one after the night of Nuit Blanche, 2012.  At a friend's apartment in Toronto.


Gave it little colour and look of a photo that has dried water spots on it.


Another image I edited was from my Environmental Animation class where we had to use a head bust and light it in 3D Maya.  


I tried to take away all colour from the image and left just a hint of pink and blue.



To edit all the images above I mainly used vector masks and the Blending options in Adobe Photoshop CS6 (64 bit).  Some layers I edited using the image adjustments and a very few layers had filters on them.  Also, setting proper opacity on the layers played a major part in the images appearing the way I wanted them to appear.

My thoughts behind editing the images:

I wanted to see what the photo of the sunset would have looked like if it were taken using an old black and white camera and has been stored in an album for four decades.  In my view the noise on the edited image mimics an old photo really nicely.  Also the small hint of violet that I left in the gives it a nice touch.

In the second image I added few layer copies, few filters, lots of blending and opacity changes and image adjustments to bring some colour out.  Also I added the dried up water drop effect to make the photo appear as if it is an old photo that wasn't stored properly.

While I was lighting the head bust in Maya I intentionally made the lights more saturated and kept strong colours on the bust.  The scene I had in the software was grey and dark and to completely change it I made the bust appear as if there were bright spot lights in the scene.  While editing it, I took away all the colours to again make the image appear completely blank compared to the strong saturated colours.  I edited the Image mainly by using the blending and vector mask options.

- Vrindar Banker