Ralph Gibson. Thursday, Apr 16 2009 

In doing research for my presentation on Annie Leibovitz, I discovered that she studied under Ralph Gibson. I had never heard of this photographer but looked up his photos to see where Annie got her inspiration from in the early years of her career. His work shows the same simplicity and form¬† than Annie’s photos do, but Gibson’s have a much more surreal look to them. Its high contrasts and makes dramatic understatements with his photos by focusing on some small detail, like the curve of a leg or the corner of a shelf. What I like is that his portraits aren’t what you’d expect. Where you would normally expect a face, Gibson may only give you a shadow. Take a look.

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hand

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faces

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Near-Infrared Photography. Thursday, Mar 26 2009 

I was recently shown some infrared photography and I can honestly say it’s caught my eye and made me more interested in photography than I have been in a while. The color effects you can get with the infrared technique are quite unique. Green becomes white and skin tones look alien. I think this lends a dreamlike quality to these photos. Most cameras have filters that block infrared light but you can use a CCD filter to capture infrared light. The near-infrared images below were taken using both filters together and this technique often involves heavy post-processing to enhance the photos.

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Diane Arbus Thursday, Feb 26 2009 

Diane Arbus was an American photographer known for her controversial portraits of people who live on the edge of society. Her subjects were often dwarves, transvestites, twins and multiples, giants, prostitutes, circus acts, and others. Even though a good majority of her portraits are looking dead-on at their subject, they are something extraordinary because of the subject matter. Many of her photos were also taken in a square format. I think by maintaining these constants, Arbus was able to draw even more attention to her subjects.

So how did I come across Arbus’s work? Well, I heard about a quirky film starring Robert Downey, Jr. (who I love in just about everything) and Nicole Kidman called Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus. I thought the film was intriguing as hell and looked up Arbus to find out more and see some of her actual photos. Her work may not be everyone’s cup of tea (not even mine) but like I said above, I think her photography is significant due to the subject matter. These are the faces of people you don’t see everyday…those who are social outcasts beause people viewed them as “freaks” and “oddities.” I’ve included some of Arbus’s most famous portraits below. What do you think?

Child with Toy Grenade, 1962

Child with Toy Grenade, 1962

Identical Twins, Roselle, NJ, 1967

Identical Twins, Roselle, NJ, 1967

Tattooed Man at Carnival, MD, 1970

Tattooed Man at Carnival, MD, 1970

Masked Woman in Wheelchair, 1970

Masked Woman in Wheelchair, 1970

“Most people go through life dreading they’ll have a traumatic experience. Freaks were born with their trauma. They’ve already passed their test in life. They’re aristocrats.” – Diane Arbus

“I work from awkwardness. By that I mean I don’t like to arrange things. If I stand in front of something, instead of arranging it, I arrange myself.” – Diane Arbus

“I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them.” – Diane Arbus

Photographing Pumpkins Thursday, Feb 12 2009 

I’m sure a lot of my classmates will agree that taking photos at concerts is not the easiest task. It’s usually very dark, people are bumping into you, and half the time flash photography isn’t allowed. But when you can manage to get in there with a camera and snap a few photos of an amazing band, the crowd, and the atmosphere…it feels great to look back at that photo and think “I was right there in the middle of it.” So I thought I would share a few pictures I took when the Smashing Pumpkins did their residency at the Orange Peel in Asheville, NC. They were promoting their long-awaited album Zeitgeist and this was their first big tour in 7 years. I went with my sister, mom, and mom’s friend to their opening show on Saturday, June 23, 2007. I’ve included a few of the pictures I took below.

Also, while we were there my mom got pulled by SPIN magazine writers and photographers to be interviewed. I almost didn’t believe it when she told me. I had been reading SPIN for years and now my mom was going to be in their magazine and on their web page. I was a little jealous but I had to admit that she achieved “cool mom status” with that one. If you want to check out SPIN’s take on the show, their photos or my mom’s blurb (she’s the one in pink), you can go here.

The lineup.

The lineup.

Drummer Jimmy Chamberlain

Drummer Jimmy Chamberlain

Billy Corgan and guitarist Jeff Schneider

Billy Corgan and guitarist Jeff Schneider

Piper Ferguson Thursday, Feb 5 2009 

Iron and Wine photographed by Ferguson.

Iron and Wine photographed by Ferguson.

Piper Ferguson is a photographer and music video director that I have recently come across, although I have seen some of her work before. Now I can finally¬† put a name with the photos. But I particularly like this one of Samuel Beam, a folk singer and songwriter who goes by the stage name of Iron and Wine. I think Ferguson has a knack for conveying a lot of information about the musicians she photographs. The photo itself gives off a folk feel with the wheat field landscape and the pastoral scene also produces the same kind of serenity that you can hear in many of his songs. To see more of Ferguson’s work, you can visit her site here.