Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Australia's Next Top Model

Ok, this entry is not exclusively related to photography, but the persons I'm going to talk about are being photographed trillions of times during their lifetimes! Besides, I did find this picture on Flickr:

Found it on the account of Plastic Beauty in June 2010, but unfortunately don't know the original source.

My thoughts when I saw this were: "What the hell ...? What's the point of putting them through all the trouble just to pick one of them as Australia's Next Top Model?" Wouldn't it be so much easier to just hire a bunch of fashion designers and photographers and organise a runway event with ALL of them? I mean, who's gonna decide? Seriously, it's only their best friend, their boyfriend (hopefully) or their dads, who could express a justified preference.

In case you are still interested here are a couple of related links:

Official promo video on YouTube.
Fox8 TV Shows.

If you want to watch a really cool "find me a model show", you gotta see Find me the Face, from the BBC! Unfortunately, they stopped doing it for some reason. Maybe too much brains involved ...?!?

However, there are two modelscouts, Becky Southwick and Jody Furlong, who compete in finding the perfect (new) model for a particular genre, beauty, editorial, fashion and so on. Their scouting hunt is quite exciting and the comments are witty. Also, the models they find are usually not the zero-size runway models, but girls (and boys!) that actually look a bit more fun and realistic. Which adds a bit more charm for me.

Anyways, that's the last rant for June. In the unlikely case that one of the BBC big boys is reading this: "Please continue!"

Saturday, 12 June 2010

God Save McQueen

Found this picture on ModelMayhem:

Photo by Jay Mawson, 2010.

The concept in this one is just awesome: not only does the slogan God Save McQueen remind us of one of the most fabulous fashion designers of the decade, but also the fact how the models in the picture are dressed up in a McQ-ish style.

God Save McQueen was used as a headline for an article about McQueen in the Guardian in 2003; ironically long before it quite had the meaning that it has today ... In any case, McQueen seemed to have admired Queen Elizabeth I, as he (kind of) stated when interviewed by his mother Joyce McQueen. I'm actually impressed how he was able to stay calm when interviewed by his mom ;-)!

Alexander McQueen's website can be found here btw, and the Fashion Forum features a short biography.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Happy Birthday Miss Jones!

Two days ago I re-discovered Grace Jones as an absolutely fantastic singer and performer. If there is anybody who thinks this woman is not hot then this somebody has no idea about anything ;-).

There are no words to describe the vast variety of things she has done (apparently long before anyone else), so here you go:

And here is yet another one, which is from a photographic point of view just awesome:

One older music video and a new one from 2008, here's the mojo ...

I actually looked for videos of Grace Jones on YouTube after I read that she said that she doesn't find Lady Gaga very innovative and that is she is not at all flattered when Gaga imitates her style. Don't worry about that Grace (not that I think she doesn't anyways ...)

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Gypsy Rose Lee

Just found this great candid shot of Gypsy Rose Lee performing in a burlesque show when flicking through vintage photographs on the web.

Posted on Flickr by Joy Northrop, May 2010.

Before looking up Gypsy Rose Lee on all-knowing Wikipedia, I just thought: "Great candid shot of a gentlemen kindly helping out fixing the dress of one of the models at a fashion show!" After reading up a little bit on the woman in the picture, I learned that she was a very successful burlesque performer and actress (yes in movies for all audiences) in the early 40ies. Apparently, she was famous for her outstanding striptease act, which explains why the gentleman is so keen to help ;-), and was titled "the best undressed woman in the world (or the USA?)". In 1963, she actually played a role in a film called The Stripper, which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Costume Design.

Enough to get curious about and I think it is an awesome shot, no matter what stage of undressing might have been reached later that night ...

Friday, 30 April 2010

Leg Make-up

Glorious Vintage on Flickr is one of my favourite sources of unconventional, entertaining and-of course-vintage pictures!

This one is just hilarious:

Picture from Glorious Vintage on Flickr, February 2010.

It is absolutely fascinating and astounding what fashion creates in order to make us look better! What can be done to make legs leggier? Absolutely, leg make-up! Unfortunately for the woman in the picture who gets the leg make-up applied the MUA has got a bit of a shaky hand.

On the other hand there is nothing to worry about wrecking your fancy expensive nylons on a night out; runs were yesterday!

While I was writing this I started to wonder whether people got the idea of tattooing nylons onto their legs. What can I say, entering the words tattoo nylons and leg into my google search window provided me with masses of information which I rather not want to blog here ...

However, the top hits actually lead me to sites where the exact opposite was for sale, namely stockings (and sleeves!) with tattoo prints. Examples can be found here and here. Somehow this is typical for today's fashion: one site advertises:

These have got to be the COOLEST things we have carried in a LONG time! Invisible mesh printed nylon sleeves that cover your whole entire arm to give the FLAWLESS illusion of a full arm sleeve tattoo! Now you can have the custom work without the pain or commitment!

Sounds pretty lame (and actually not exactly eye-candy) to me in all respects! I say let's paint those legs ;-) ...

Monday, 19 April 2010

6x6 in Black & White

Everyone who is interested in photography and has the slightest bit of nostalgia within oneself will probably agree that black & white photography has great appeal. Somehow it is quite funny that black & white pictures and films have that much charm, character and sex appeal, since humans are usually seeing the world in colour for the last few thousands of years. So maybe it is the fact that things appear more intriguing if the distractions of colour are taken away ... Now that I think about it, we actually do see the world in black & white sometimes and that is at night time. However, not all black & white images have a connotation with night or darkness, but possibly there is something unconscious going on?

In any case I do love black & white and, yes, film too! My recent ventures into black & white have, however, turned out to be quite challenging, as I think it's really hard to take great black & white pictures which underline the very charm of not being in colour.

There is one guy who, in my opinion, is an absolute genius of black & white and on top of that, he shoots medium format! Here's one of my favourites:

Photo by Maxim Chelak, Mai 2009.

His Flickr name is just great too: Maxim Chelak. I haven't worked out yet whether this is made up or his real name, he is Russian after all. No offense, but for my ears both sounds reasonable.

Here is another one which is really fantastic (and an absolutely beautiful model, lucky blizzard!):

Photo by Maxim Chelak, November 2009, Model: Natalia Vlasova.

If you find these pictures inspiring too, here are some more links to his photos and his website:



Edina Tokodi (her website)

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Happy Easter !

After a very busy March, I think it's time to catch some breath over Easter! I even managed to take an arty snap of our Easter Tree with painted eggs ;-).

Have a great Easter, lots of food and chocolate!

Photo by Martin Trefzer, Easter 2010.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Light Directions

This is a composition I had in mind for a long time. Thanks Tatjana for your patience when I took dozens of pictures while moving the lights all around you! I think I managed to keep her happy, since she still smiled on pictures taken later during the portrait session. If you are interested, you can find a set of photos here.

I used one D-Lite strobe from different directions in order to obtain a number of pictures which I then put together to get this one:

Photo by Me (large on Flickr), 2010.

I was interested in how it would look like when pictures of the same face, lit from different angles, were put together in one image. The pictures are ordered according to the angle of the light in the respective photograph. The one in the middle is the starting point where the light comes from the direction of the camera. To the left and right the horizontal angle is then increased/ decreased in 45° steps. The same applies to the vertical axis. The single pictures on the right, at the top and at the bottom are lit from behind, from the top and from the bottom.

The whole set of pictures could be kind of wrapped around to form a sphere around the model. Hope that doesn't sound too complicated!?

Anyways, I think it looks quite funky and it is interesting to see how such a simple thing like the position of one single light source can change the character of a face in a portrait entirely. From now on I will have a nice example at the ready, when I have to give another flash or studio light workshop ;-).

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Wedding Photographs Follow Up

I just came across another (this time not trashing wedding dresses) great wedding shot:

Photo by Ronald Soliman 2009 (I believe), Delaware, US

This wedding picture is just great. There is everything in there: a memorable moment, the groom may now kiss the bride, excited relatives and kids who behave!

On top of that I think you are a pretty good wedding photographer, if you are able to see and capture(!) moments like this on a mayhem wedding day.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Trash the Wedding Dress!

"Now why would you want to do that to such a bloody expensive thing?", I thought when I came across an article with this very title by Dahlia Rideout on divine caroline. The article features winner pictures of a photo competition "Trash the Wedding Dress". Here's my favourite one:

Photo by Bartosz Jastal, Poland, 2009.

Reading through the article I was then once more utterly amazed that this photo contest takes place regularly and is organised -amongst other ones- by the Wedding Photojournalist Association. Their website states: "WPJA is a professional organization composed of photojournalists and wedding photographers from around the world. What sets our members apart in the industry is their candid, documentary approach – a distinctly artistic vision toward wedding photography."

And that's exactly what's going on. Here's one of the most original wedding shots I've ever seen:
Photo by Deborah Kates, Illinois US, 2009.

Looking at the amazing shots on those websites I reconsidered and thought: "Actually why wouldn't you for such a great shot!?!".

Just think about it: there is no other occasion where you will wear your wedding dress ever again. After the wedding you spend another couple of hundred to have it dry-cleaned, then you wrap it up and put it somewhere until your grandchildren either find it eaten by moths or cry out in amazement: "Unbelievable, did you really fit into this dress when you were young grandma?"

I think you will agree with me that it would be better to have a great framed trash-the-wedding-dress picture at your wall or even on the attic which is actually interesting to look at and the line you hear will be a different one: "Wow grandma! Are you a princess who had to go to a great deal of trouble before she could rule just like the Disney ones?!"

I know it hurts a little when thinking about the price, but it's everybody's own choice whether one wants to be cool or lame!