We can’t deny that the “self-portrait” has been gaining popularity recently. The position of photographer and the subject are blended together. Tseng Kwong-chi (1950-1990), a Chinese artist, is known for his self-portrait series in which he wore the same Chinese tunic and photographed himself infront of famous memorials.
“Mulling it over, I couldn’t articulate it fully but definitely, I knew I had become lazy, really lazy. A spectacular sloth by the standards of shooting film. Film is hard. Film is a stone cold unforgiving killing bastard. Film is once in a lifetime, no excuses. F8 and really, really be there: ready, steady, in focus, correct exposure, and pressing the shutter in synch with life.” - D.M.
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
i saw this video by Joachim Ladefoged a couple of months ago at VII and i just now noticed that it is posted online. this is probably the single most beautiful piece of video ever shot by a photographer. it may also be the most expensive. it was shot on the RED One.
Every once in awhile you stumble across a terribly simple, yet effective use of the internet. i stumbled across Model Morphosis on the NYT Mag blog today and i have no idea how i hadn’t seen this before. the images are very straight-forward, but the effect is interesting and fun.
The beauty of footage made with DSLRs is only matched by the awkward designs of the cameras. These cameras were made to make still photos in the most traditional hand under the lens, hand on the grip and eye to the eyepiece sort of way. Now they have this wonderful capability of creating stunning video, but it requires you to hold the camera away from your body trying to focus using the live view. Simply put, it is not easy and it is not good.
But where there is a will there is a way and this need has captured the creative minds of dozens of companies looking to create useful products to fill this void. There are literally hundreds of third party products designed to make it easier to create great video using DSLRs. Out of all the seemingly endless products i think the Redrock Micro EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) will prove itself to be the one of the most useful (i haven’t gotten my hands on one yet).
The first time i saw Vincent Laforet with a decked out DSLR i thought he had gotten it all wrong. He had taken this tiny and amazing little video camera and made it into a monstrosity with every gadget attached. It was no longer svelt and mobile, it had become just like any other video camera. Soon after that i wound up shooting a music video with a couple of Canon 5D mkIIs decked out with Redrock rails, follow-focuses and external monitors. After just a few minutes of shooting with them i realized that i was wrong before; this equipment made the shooting nearly effortless, it solved problems and created new opportunities because it gave me the opportunity to use techniques i couldn’t without them.
The Redrock Micro EVF is the next big wave because what it does is provide a customizable monitor for viewing the footage as you shoot. Now you are no longer constrained to shooting handheld with your eye pressed up against an eyecup attached to the back of the camera. This gives shooters a comfortable shooting platform that is more natural and will mimic the feel a traditional video cameras with the possibility of using a shoulder rest and having the eyecup where your eye is, instead of craning over to focus. This is… umm… well, it’s great.