Lars Wirzenius: Photography, 2004


Friday, August 06, 2004

Photography: "Digital Deception" by Bruce Goldfarb

Bruce Goldfarb has a nice essay about faked photographs. While trick photography is as old as photography itself, it is becoming commonplace. Goldfarb's essay has several revealing examples of how common it is, as it is done both by people with too much free time, and by newspapers. Even live television is not safe.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Photography: Take photographs and break your heart

Eamon Hickey writes on about Sports Illustrated's digital workflow, using their Superbowl job as an example. Very impressive, I wish I could work like that as a photographer. Just look at the kit of Bob Rosato on page 2 of the story: all the toys you could ever want.

The numbers were quite impressive: over sixteen thousand photographs for one event. More interesting to me, however, was the process of selecting and modifying photos. It is refreshing to remember that even the professionals have to go through the photographs one by one and choose the few ones that are any good. Steve Fine, the Director of Photography, sums up the way I tend to feel about my own photographs: "Eleven guys. Eleven versions out of focus." Of course, for me it is "One guy. Eleven versions out of focus."

Finding the good shots out of huge pile of photographs is both tedious and occasionally heartbreaking. You shot so many frames, and yet you get so few good ones.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Photography: La Fiamma di Danza

The renaissance dance group La Fiamma di Danza performed yesterday and had asked me to take some pictures of them. Unfortunately, few of them were any good: I suck at shooting action. I prefer whatever I'm taking pictures of to be perfectly still for extended periods of time (at least a second).

The show was nice, anyway.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Photography: Helmut Newton's photographs

I visited an exhibition of photographs by Helmut Newton. There were two series of photographs: Sex & Landscapes and Yellow Press. I wasn't particularly happy with either. I guess I still just don't understand art.

The first series had lots of nude women, many of them famous models, and that is of course an attraction. Few of the nude pictures were particularly interesting as photographs, however. On the whole, I found them to be messy, and apart from the nudity, pointless. The photographs with landscapes in them were mostly out of focus and boring. (This definitely means that I don't understand art, of course.)

Partly the photographs might have been unsharp because they were enlarged to something like one or two square meters. Perhaps I should have viewed them from further away, but then people would have gotten in my way more easily.

The other series was even less interesting. In it, Newton played a paparazzi or news photographer, and the results were, I think, typical for both styles. In other words, technically adequate, but not brilliant, and mostly uninteresting unless you have a special reason in the subject of the photograph.

I've seen pictures by Newton elsewhere and they have been much more pleasing to me. Not just technically better, but more interesting as well. (It must be the art thing that made these ones unpleasing to me.)

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Photography: Black corset

Took some pictures of a black corset for Lynoure.

A black dress and a light skin color, such as Meira has in these pictures, is difficult to manage for the photographer. I'm not sure I did very well, but at least the important part works: you can see details of the dress, which is the point of these photographs.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Photography: Choosing a normal lens

I decided it was time to buy an additional lens. When I bought my camera in 2001, I could not afford to buy a set of good lenses and I opted for the cheapest one, the Canon EF 28-90 mm f/4-5.6 zoom. By several accounts, it is the worst lens Canon currently makes. I have, however, been fairly happy with it so far. It is a good enough lens for learning purposes, and I have not felt much restricted by it. It is very slow for autofocus, and not very bright, but I can live with that.

I also have the Canon EF 50/1.8 mark II lens, which on my D30 is effectively an 80 mm lens. It is quite nice, though also slow to focus. I use it for portraits, mostly head shots, when I want to have a shallower depth of field than the f/4 on the zoom lens allows. Mostly I use the zoom, because it is more versatile.

Next I wanted a "normal lens", something that is approximately 50 mm in (effective) focal length. After much browsing of and, I narrowed it down to either the Canon EF 28/2.8 or 35/2 lenses. They are both affordable enough, by all accounts optically good enough, and both are approximately 50 mm in effective focal length (45 mm versus 56 mm). I had decided on the 35/2 lens, since it gives an extra stop of aperture, but the camera shop had a used 28/2.8 cheaply, so I got that, instead.

I've only taken a few test shots with the new lens so far. It seems much snappier for focusing, but I haven't noticed any dramatic increase in optical quality compared to the zoom. Time will tell, I guess.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Photography: Secret of successful portraits, don't tell anyone

After almost three years of photography, mostly portraits, I have concluded that the way to get people to think their portraits are good is to use a filthy white backdrop and show them pictures printed out in a format larger than they are used to (I manage 20 by 30 centimeters).

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Photography: Ninja girl

In December, I photographed Yoe dressed up as a ninja and a Japanese teenage girl. I've finally managed to make a selection of the frames I like best, and Yoe has graciously allowed me to make them public.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Photography: History of photography at Diskurssi

With a group of friends we arrange a regular happening which starts with a 30 minute presentation on some topic on which the presenter (one of us) is knowledgeable. Aftewards there is large amounts of food and discussion, both on the topic and other things. Today's topic was the history of photography, and I gave the presentation. I'm not an expert on it, but that's OK. As usual, the 30 minutes stretched to 90, but that's also OK. I collected a few representative pictures and talked about them and events surrounding them. It went pretty well.

Next, I think I should start taking pictures again.

Wednesday, January 7, 2004

Photography: Sanna

Made public the mini-gallery with the best shots of Sanna. Feedback welcome via e-mail.