Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Featuring Local Photographer: Monique Simone

Recently, I met with a local photographer, Monique Simone, to ask her questions about her photography business. I was quite impressed and left inspired by our talk. She exudes confidence and passion, taking a fresh approach to her subjects. In addition to receiving training in visual arts, she has taken every opportunity along the way to develop her skills and follow her interest in photography. With several years of experience under her belt in fine arts archival printing, studio portraiture, and commercial work with a well-known photographer, Monique has worked as a wedding photographer, specializing in destination weddings. She continues to do weddings, but now has her own studio where she focuses on portraiture. Monique cannot imagine doing anything better in life: she gets to organize her own schedule, be her own boss and do photography! Monique works hard and commits to growth by regularly attending workshops held by the WPPI (Wedding Photography Association). When asked what is needed to survive in this industry, she answered that a person needs to have a cross between humility and a sense of self. Being business savvy also helps. In her own words, “a business does not run automatically.” For wedding photography, she also points out that having a happy, extrovert personality is useful. To prepare for her shoots, Monique listens to fun music; wears funky clothes; makes sure that she has food to snack on; and goes through fashion editorials.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Camera-less Photography

Camera-less photography is a technique producing photograms, which are essentially photographic images requiring only direct exposure of an object onto a photosensitive surface. The image is captured without the use of a lens or a camera. Depending on the transparency of the objects used, the image varies in tones. For example, translucent objects appear grey; opaque, white; and empty space, black. Since the image is produced directly onto paper, there is no negative. Each photogram is a one-of-a-kind work of art. And because of the unique process, photograms often come out looking surreal, ghostly, and generally different than we expect.

The photogram technique dates back to the beginnings of photography. In its early stage, photograms were explored and developed in the context of scientific and medical research. Two of the first applications of photograms were documenting botanical specimens and x-rays.

The use of the photogram for purely artistic purposes came later, after the first World War as illustrated by Christian Schad, Man Ray and Lazlo Moholy-Nagy in the modernist period of art. Today photograms continue to be used by artists as a means of artistic expression, producing a wide variety of designs and surreal imagery mostly for the world of Fine Art Photography, and occasionally for advertising.

Although camera-less photography remains, in my opinion, somewhat avant-garde, I believe it is accessible to the “masses” through its minimalist, direct, tactile and experimental approach to image-making. Curiosity and experimentation are de rigueur in this genre. With camera-less photography, equipment does not “get in the way”; or create such a strong divide between the Observer and the Observed.

Useful link to information on photograms:

How to make a photogram - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zK9cYGuogX8
Original, funny use of photograms - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UB79mHut2e8

Inspiring Contemporary Photographers using the Photogram:
Susan Seubert - http://www.seubertfineart.com/ - /Portfolios/Dress-O-Grams/1
Don Dudenbostel - http://www.x-rayarts.com/collections.html
Pierre Cordier - http://www.pierrecordier.com/sommaire.php

Friday, September 16, 2011

JR, photo-graffeur

JR, a contemporary photographer, started off as a graffiti artist. After finding a camera on the street, he began to shoot his graffiti outings and posting his photos on buildings. His first projects took place in Paris, where he photographed people from a rough neighborhood. After some riots took place and the media portrayed these same people as dangerous hoodlums, JR went back and photographed these people doing caricatures of themselves as seen in the media. He made large prints and posted them in bourgeois areas of Paris. On each portrait, he included the person’s name, age and building number. In a similar vein, JR went to the Middle East to photograph people on both sides of the wall in Israel, printing and posting the photos on both sides. In Africa, JR printed photos of women on waterproof vinyl, which doubled as a new roof for ramshackle houses. In all of his projects, JR engages people who normally would not be exposed to art or step foot inside a museum. He is particularly interested in the process of making art and its transformative power to bring down barriers between people. Therefore, his style of art is confrontational—though not aggressive or negative. He likes to challenge the status quo and to not assume what the limits are and where they lie. Above all, JR is about dialogue.

In 2011, someone nominated him for the TED prize award. He was selected as the winner, receiving $100,00 and the opportunity to make a wish. This wish entails financial support from the TED community towards a humanitarian project of his choosing. For more information, check out his website: http://jr-art.net/. JR’s significance to the field cannot be understated. Fabrice Bousteau, a French writer and journalist, once introduced him as the Cartier-Bresson of the 21st century.

Hi World!

I am officially starting a blog to regularly share my artistic journey with you through the present medium of photography.

For the next two years, I'll be studying photography full-time at Dawson College in Montreal. It feels really good to be taking my talent and interest to the next level! The fit is perfect, and I feel extremely blessed and grateful!

I hope that this platform will stimulate, inspire and encourage both my readers and I to live out our potential! :)