2016 has been a year that has seen Joey L plunged in to unusual situations. His name is usually associated with is masterful lighting and portrait style of A-List celebrities. Then, in October this year Joey reached out to me about his work for the legendary Lavazza calendar which a more travel orientated series of portraiture. Now, Joey has gone one step further and taken his beautiful image style and applied it to a crisis in Qayyara in Iraq.
Articles written by Robert K Baggs
The arts — very much including photography — under the umbrella of expression and free speech can explore the boundaries of what is acceptable. Often these boundaries are harmless and prompt little more than a debate regarding the meta of the relevant discipline. Occasionally, however, the debate is darker in nature as the boundary being pushed is one of moral significance. The photographer and director David Hamilton was somewhat of a permanent resident of such debate and his suspected suicide recently has brought a number of questions to fruition.
The fallout from the recent election has been tantamount to a natural disaster and shows no signs of slowing down quite yet. To say that Donald Trump has had a mixed reception would be somewhat of an understatement, but as a positive person -- whose vote didn't see them on the winning side -- one might feel compelled to initiate Operation Silver Lining. In the face of adversity there is usually one opportunity for the (hardened) photographer: journalistic coverage of events.
I don't care much for Halloween; as a miserable Brit, it's all a bit odd to me. However, if Canon is going to offer a 15 percent off coupon code, I'll dress up in costume (read I'll wear a hat or non-matching socks) and celebrate with the best of you. The code is at the bottom of the page; please pretend to read my words while en route to it. I'll know if you don't.
For as long as there has been business, there has been networking. If you read any book on business or entrepreneurship it's immediately apparent that people and relationships are the cornerstone of success. It will come as no surprise, therefore, that the merit of social media is huge; this is well-trodden ground and tiresome. However, I feel compelled to promote one aspect of online networking that has separated itself from the pack for me.
Since I fell in love with portraiture I've daydreamed about traveling the world to take pictures of people. It's not a unique dream and it's not an overly farfetched dream, but it isn't a job that often comes up. One of the ways in which artists get commissioned to do something along those lines, however, is the Lavazza Calendar. It has seen the likes of Mark Seliger, Annie Leibovitz, and Steve McCurry behind the camera for them in recent years and this year, Joey L got the nod.
When LG invited me to their OLED exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London, my ears pricked up. This is for two reasons: the first is that a couple of years ago, I wrote a piece on OLED lighting and how I think it will change how photographers light their subjects in the coming years. The second is because, well, I love technology. LG's OLED 4K TVs and monitors are the epitome of digital clarity, and while I suspected that to be the case, seeing it in the flesh did more than confirm my suspicions.
Photography as a sector has been affected by shifting technology as much as – if not more than – any other industry. The biggest change is undoubtedly the availability of cameras compared to 50 years ago, with almost every human in the Western world having a camera within arm’s reach every waking second. This is met with nothing but doom and gloom by the commentators on the professional photography industry, but is all that negativity justified?
Many people have interesting stories of how they started photography; I do not. One of my chief motivators for starting was being a part of a car community in which a few members used to take macro photographs of insects. I was fascinated by the detail and intricacies of things I'd previously ignored, and so, I bought a cheap second-hand DSLR with a kit lens and a macro filter. After establishing that photography was the expensive mistress I'd always dreamed of, I decided to buy a proper macro lens and sought out advice on the right purchase for me. Then I bought the wrong one.
The world's most popular camera is the iPhone. That isn't news anymore, but it does highlight a number of interesting points about how people consume photography these days. Firstly, if people have a camera on their person that's readily available, they'll take pictures. Although this is somewhat obvious, it does draw the eye to one of the drawbacks of DSLRs and ILCs: size. They are both invariably too big to have on your person at all times, but what if that could be overcome?
High-end beauty photography requires images to be as close to perfection as humanly possible both in camera and in retouching. There's often a myth circulated that beauty editorials are so heavily Photoshopped that they are in essence all Photoshop. This is simply not the case.
I haven’t seen much on this topic, but a brief conversation with another photographer recently illuminated to me the fact that photographer anxiety is not at all uncommon. One of the reasons I believe it isn’t discussed a great deal is the general image of today’s top photographers.
Image sharpness is, for the most part, a false economy. It is mistakenly believed to be synonymous with image quality; that isn't the case. One major difference is that image quality has a ceiling and once reached (if that's even possible), the image cannot be any better in terms of quality. However, with the sharpness of an image, you can far exceed the perfect amount (again, if there is such a thing), and it begins to cost your image dearly.
You are going to fail because you cannot fight the chaos. I don’t believe that, but this article is very sensible and the real first line of this piece wasn’t catchy enough: structure, organization, and discipline are the foundations of being successful and self-employed. If my formative years were anything to go by, I was the antithesis of all three. Thankfully, determination and maturity seeped in and I became obsessed with how I could be the most productive, organized, and disciplined without a boss or a separate office building and with the constant lure of Netflix.
Beauty and fashion retouching has been controversial for so long that some of the argument's ground has been conceded. For example, skin retouching is rarely debated anymore and it's merely a "given" that someone in an advert or magazine will have had their skin corrected. However, criticizing body manipulation in Photoshop is very much still in vogue (if you'll excuse that glorious pun).
For years, I enjoyed cinematography and photography as almost non-overlapping magisteria. I was fully aware that they played by many of the same rules, but I didn't entertain the idea of extracting elements of cinematography and inserting them into my images until much later.
Photography changes year after year, but it's a gradual evolution. However, one area of photography that has been accelerating faster than the others has to be time-lapses. The videos have been getting longer, the shots more dynamic where a dolly is more common, and the quality is getting to the point of staggering. It seems that every frame could be pulled and used in a landscape portfolio. Adding to this trend is photographer Joe Capra with his 12K-resolution time-lapse of Los Angeles.
I remember, way back when I first started trying my hand at portrait photography, the cold realization that I didn't really know how to direct a shoot. I wasn't horrible at it, but I lacked confidence due to a lack of experience and I made a mental note to work on it. It's now years later and I'm still working on it and I will keep working on it until I stop picking up a camera. If you haven't already, you will quickly realize that how you act during a shoot is of the same importance as your technical ability.
Light painting is one of the rights of passage photographers have to try at some juncture. I enjoyed playing around with it in the early days, but what surprised me is I have used the techniques commercially on several occasions; from creating better backgrounds to my portraits in dark locations to capturing English Heritage sites. The importance of knowing how to light paint isn't necessary per se, but it does help you understand how light works and how your camera exposes a scene.