Saturday, 18 August 2012

Summer Break

Summer's almost over, we got to make the most of what's left, right?

Have a great time
see you in September!

PS. Don't hesitate and please continue to send your submissions, suggestions & musings to Promise to get back to you in September!

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Eduardo Izq

Bloomington, Indiana


Women! What do you find most fascinating about them?

Women are enchanting and mysterious. I'm fascinated by the adventure of getting to know them. There's something of a discovery, a revelation, with each encounter. I know I'll never understand them fully. Ultimately, this is an exploration of what natural feminine beauty means to me. So I’m not looking for a definite answer, it’s a complete mystery and this is my exploration. I’m drawn to the details of their skin and lips. I enjoy the way muscles and bones show through their skin during certain movements, expressions. The eyes are obviously essential - but not the eyes themselves, their looks. I also love their hair, particularly when it's natural and messy. I appreciate the differences in between, constantly stretching my sense of what it means to be a woman.

Your portraits are full of emotion. How do you bring out the most out of your models?

I ask my subjects to be themselves, to be natural, to not pose for me, to not wait for the camera's shutter, to forget I'm there, to get inside themselves, to imagine they are in some other situation, with their partner, with their friends, or on a stage, performing for a crowd.  We generally put music on - I ask them to play something they have loved recently.  Ultimately, I avoid directing them.  I’m not looking for anything specifically - I see this as me learning from them.

For you, how important is it to empathize with models during a shoot?

Oh, it's absolutely crucial.  I would get nothing of interest unless I empathized with them. 

You appear to be a firm believer in black and white photography. Is there any particular reason for this?

I'm not entirely wedded to black and white.  I am certainly very attracted to colours, too.  And often I do play around with them during editing.  Up to now, most of my work has been in black and white for a very simple reason: It allows me to concentrate on the things that interest me the most: the expressions of the models, and the ways the light shapes them.  I like working within constrains that black and white photography presents me.  I like the structure that it provides. What I want is to loose the irrelevant details.  Focus on just a few things, the lips, the neck, a shape, an emotion. Something feminine, raw, and mysterious.  I’m happy to play with colour when I feel it adds to that something.

Back to portraiture: How hard is it to tell genuine emotion from fake/posed expressions of feeling?

In real life it's trivial.  That's one of those things we've evolved to be really good - it's essential to our survival.  It's a lot harder on a photograph. We've been subject to many different selection pressures, but the ability to tell emotions from a photograph was not one of them.  This, by the way, is something Charles Darwin was very interested in.  I’d highly recommend his book titled "The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals."  To capture expression, I believe we have to convey actions.  That is one of my main interests in portraiture and to me the biggest challenge. 

Do you ever mind being photographed yourself?

I'm not entirely against it, but I guess I don't make it easy either.  I'm quite self-conscious.  I admit to my models how bad I am at being on the other side of the lens.  It's partly why I sympathize with them.  I understand how hard it is to be looked at.  I don't like the attention.  This is why I try to make them as comfortable as possible.  The whole session is an exercise in getting them to be comfortable in front of me.  Maybe one day I'll get comfortable in front of the camera.  At the moment, there's nothing I want more than to be the one composing the shot.

How do you go about choosing pictures for a portfolio?

This is one of the hardest parts of photography for me. I agonize for days, and sometimes weeks, over it.  Last time I had to do it, I filled my room with small prints, then arranged, and re-arranged them for hours. I play around establishing all sorts of systems for categorizing them, and prioritizing them. The truth is I'm rarely satisfied. I usually feel there's a better selection out there, that I haven't arrived to - if I could only figure it out! Even once I've selected the few that I like the most, I often want to go back and re-process the photographs.  Like my academic work, I've learnt to simply put a stop to it after a certain time - regardless of whether I think it's there or not. 

How often do you consult others' opinion on your work? Who do you ask?

I'm relatively private. I do often consult my partner.  So far she's the only one I've asked directly for feedback about my work. I'll run by her ideas at any stage of the process: from the conceptual inspiration, to finding the model, to the selection process, and even the editing. 

Could you describe your body of work in a few sentences?

Unusually natural: A series of black and white, minimal, raw portraits exploring feminine beauty through expressions.

It seems that this is what happens when emotions are captured in photographs. Take a look at his work!

Friday, 10 August 2012

Sophie Pellegrini

Potomac, Maryland

You write that you are an aspiring fashion photographer. Is there a magazine you would love to work for?

I'm not sure at this point, honestly. I'm really into some of the smaller magazines like Rookie, Disfunkshion, Freckled... all that good stuff. So maybe one of them.

What do you find most challenging about self-portraits?

When I first starting shooting, I was just trying to get a hang of my camera, because I was teaching myself. So being the model myself seemed logical. There's a lot I love about self- portraits, particularly that there's nothing lost in transition, which can happen if you're using models; I know the vision I have in my head, so it's easier for me to execute it. However, at the same time it can be harder, because you can't see what you're shooting as you do it, of course. You have to keep running back and forth between the camera and wherever you're posing, to make sure that the lighting, composition, and focus are how you want them to be. Focus is the hardest part for me, it takes a lot of trial and error to place yourself in the line of focus when you can't look at where it falls.

Do you attach personal and sentimental memories to your collection "Diary" ?

Definitely. That series holds some of my most personal photos. A lot of them were taken when I was feeling something strongly and needed an outlet. Others are just unplanned shots from my day-to-day life, just straight documentations of my life.

What is your project "Words" about?

I inherited my grandfather's typewriter when he passed away. I'd always admired it and loved typing on it when I visited my grandparents. Creative writing has been a constant in my life-- like photography, it's a great emotional and creative outlet. Sometimes, when I have something to say that I can't express in a photo, or that I'd rather type out, I use the typewriter. There's nothing like the sound of the clicking keys. So "Words" is a compilation of some of the things I've written over the past few years. They express a lot of the sentiments I try to convey in my photos.

Do you find it easier or more comfortable if your models are friends of yours?

Honestly I don't think I have enough experience working with other models to say. I can say that I really enjoy photographing my friends, though - it's a great and relatively new feeling to have the people I'm closest with be open to my art.

Where will you be this summer?

This summer I've been home. A huge part of my life up until about a year ago was competitive swimming, and I love kids, so I spent one last summer as a coach for my summer team. I did as much photography and art as I could on the side. I hope to have some sort of internship next summer, but it's a long way away, so we'll see.

Do you have plans for any photography projects during this time?

I've been horribly busy with work so it's been hard. I've been working on a few shoots that haven't featured any humans; I've been trying to push myself to take photos that don't have models, because I find it harder to express many things without the human element. It's been a good experience. I've also been catching up on scanning film and editing old files, something that was long overdue.

Do you like art composed of mixed media?

Absolutely! I actually did quite a bit of mixed media work in my high school commercial art class. It's a pretty cool art form because it's so open ended - you can take it in so many directions.

Would you say that photographs sometimes make you more nostalgic about some memories than you would have been without them?

Perhaps looking at photographs I've taken in the past, but not making them. I do think I'm a very nostalgic person by nature. I've never taken to change very well and dwell on memories often - it could keep me entertained for hours. A lot of the photos I take are for the sake of memories: you can see this particularly in my "Diary" and "World" sets. But even the photos I've taken outside of those sets can easily transport me back to the time in my life when I created them by just looking at them. I'm thankful to have photography as a way to keep my memories alive.

Does distance make the heart grow fonder?

I'm not sure on that one. I think it depends. I think it's difficult to set such basic, general rules for love. Every person is different, so naturally every partnership is unique as well. It seems futile to me to try to make generalizations like that. To be honest, I think that's part of what makes love so great, that there really are no rules. In my opinion, at least.

Memories and portraits and nothing gets lost. Take a look at her work!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Sam Stockman

Nottingham, UK

Where have your latest travels led you?

This year I've not been too far afield. A lot of my photos have been from seaside resorts around Britain, I find them to be really interesting places to take photos, they often seem like they are stuck in a time warp. Other than that I was in Austria at the beginning of the year. I'm hoping to get away later in the year, too.

Is it important for you personally to document your trips and visits to other places?

Yeah, I'm most inspired to take pictures when I'm in new places. I like to try and take pictures that represent where I am, but maybe not in the most obvious way. What's quite interesting though is that a lot of the scenes I capture could end up being anywhere. This might be because certain themes always catch my eye, I guess.

In fact, when going through your latest work, it feels a bit like watching snapshots out of a documentary. Was this something you wanted to achieve?

It wasn't something I set out to achieve no, but I can see why you would say that. When I'm in new places I'm always looking to see what would make an interesting picture

There is some kind of silence, if not peace to your pictures. What is it about motionless, silent motifs that interests you the most?

"Less is more" for me, which is why I'm attracted to scenes where there are signs of human interference but where not necessarily anyone is there at that moment. Or if there is, it's not obvious what they are doing. 

Would you be into developing a project that is aiming for the contrary and in which you would concentrate on moving objects?

I'm not against the idea, but it’s not something I have really considered. I also use quite slow film usually so I would have to rethink my whole process. I generally like a sharp image.

What are you working on currently?

Just continuing to take photos whenever I can really, I've started to think about putting pictures into more structured sets. I'd like to work on a time specific, diary type of series, something that is more linked through when they were taken rather than a particular theme.

Do you like to combine study/work or leisure time with your photographic work?

I tend to take my camera with me wherever I go, so my photography work often moulds into my day to day life. Like if I'm walking to work and see something that captures my eye, i'll take the picture there and then. I dont tend to revisit places, the photos are what they are at that moment in time.

Is there an upcoming artist that you are watching currently?

There are a lot of photographers I admire. I run an online photography magazine called Kissing Eyes, where I feature peoples work I really like. There are loads but a few would be Jose Javier Serrano, Barnaby Hutchins, Salva Lopez and Raphael Bourelly. There are so many great photographers on Flickr.

What do you think about instagram and the like?

I don't use it, but it seems like a good way of sharing photos and having people see your stuff.

What do you value more: technique or equipment?

I think that just having an eye for composition is the most important thing. You can take good photographs with any sort of camera really. Having said that I love film, there is something about the depth and colour range that I really like.

Have you ever thought about leaving Europe for good? If so, where would you go? If not, why would you stay?

I always wanted to go to America for a long period of time, but friends and family have kept me happy being in the UK so far.

Quietness exploding in images. Take a look at his work!