I have recently come back from a month’s trip to Vietnam. I traveled with my husband and 3 year old daughter. I wasn’t sure how much time I would have to dedicate to my photography as I juggled between being a mother and a photographer ! As it happened my daughter with her blond curly hair opened a few doors for us and became herself a widely photographed subject !
Whilst I am traveling, along with shooting portraits, which we all love to do in other countries, I love to shoot Interiors, as a way of documenting every day life. There is beauty in just photographing what you see, without the need of styling. There is a certain privilege and intimacy of being allowed into people’s homes. It adds another dimension to the colourful and vibrant outside life and in this case of Vietnam.
Whilst we were trekking up and around Sa Pa and Bac Ha armed with a digital camera and my Hasselblad, the focus of this particular journey was to be able to spend some time meeting different ethnic groups and photographing the inside of their homes. In some cases, this was impossible as it was too dark, but armed with a tripod I was in many cases able to shoot, focusing on the kitchen in many instances. To me along with the portraits, again shot on film, give a little more depth to the story and lives of the Vietnamese people.
Shooting Interiors does not always mean a well decorated house ready for a magazine but as I hope you can see from the photos, a way to document normal every day life.
To see more please feel free to visit my site : www.joannamaclennan.com
Today, the brave, new digital world of iPhoneography reaches light-years beyond the first app – “Hipstamatic” – that most iPhone users have come to know. Thousands of down-loadable and affordable apps are now available to take iPhone photo-art to nearly endless levels and nuances of personal, visual expression.iPhoneography: Advanced Expression is The Compelling Image’s newest course addition, designed to guide you through an amazing cornucopia of creative tools for the iPhoneographer who’s mastered the basics and is ready for more.
Join this advanced voyage with internationally-acclaimed iPhoneographer, Laura Peischl. Still places left for the November 7th maiden online and interactive start. And if you can’t make this one, new sessions of this exciting course start each and every Monday. Take your next creative step and SIGN UP NOW!
“How has the collapse of the economy affected your life?” This was the question put to passersby agreeing to sit for the camera of fine art photographer and TCI instructor, Gina Genis, at the Huntington Beach Art Center in Southern California.
Gina had each participant hand-write their personal story of financial frustration on a piece of paper and each was attached to its respective portrait, photographed against a red, white and blue background. Culmination of the project saw this collective work exhibited at the Center as an 11-foot by 19-foot (more than 3- by 9- meter) American Flag. The work recently earned Gina Orange County’s (California, U.S.A.) “Best Of” honors.
The goal is not to change your subjects, but for the subject to change the photographer. ~Author Unknown
As I was preparing to wrap up our blog posts for August, I sent a few questions to David as usual. In his reply, he added a small note: “I’ll be leaving for Africa on 3 Sept. to cover the famine in the Horn of Africa for World Food Program and Doctors without Borders.” That’s David.
His assignments have taken him all over, especially into Afghanistan, Bangladesh and a favorite of his, Istanbul.
As David heads off to Africa, I will be heading off for an extended break to explore the world of iPhonegraphy so I thought this would be a perfect moment to publicly thank him for the opportunity it has been to work for him and his projects at TCI. David is an inspiration and mentor for many photographers. One of those, the superb GMB Akesh wrote a wonderful article about David on his blog which you can see here.
As David’s student, whenever I study his work, I am inspired by his respect and feeling for his subjects, his dedication to the art of photography and his deep passion for the craft. In short, I simply just love to look at his work.
David’s respect for humanity, so clear in his images, extends to his interactions with those who work with him. No matter what I have suggested to him, David has always treated it with the utmost respect.
Surveying nearly the year spent here, I see that I have gained an immense amount of knowledge, many contacts, and a chance to write about other photographers and perhaps help to get a tad more exposure for them too. I especially want to mention Gina Genis who practically wrote two of my early posts. Thanks Gina.
On another note, as I was writing this post, I saw a new FaceBook post from Lisa Wiltse, one of TCI’s instructors stationed in New Zealand. She has posted a link to a very dramatic set of images shot for the Winter Games in NZ. I looked more closely and yep…shot with an iPhone. Amazing images.
I will be looking for news and stories from David’s assignment in Africa. Most of all I wish him safe journeys to and from Africa.
What avid photographer has not had a moment when that pesky little voice inside says: “You know you’re well on your way, but you’ve got some questions, doubts, fears. Why not spend some time with someone who has already been there, done that. Wow! What could you accomplish then?”
Perhaps you want to know more about organizing that massive collection of images, exhibiting, marketing, entering and winning competitions, taking your fieldwork up a level or two, incorporating multimedia into your repertoire or working out details for a specific project. Whatever it might be, you have come to the right place. TCI is proud to announce the launch of our Mentorship Program in Photography .
According to David Bathgate, TCI’s Founder and Director, “The program is designed for keen amateurs and aspiring professionals who are passionate about their image-making and want to hone their craft and expand their vision. Whether the aim is publication, preparation for an exhibition, establishing that long-dreamed-of career or building a stronger, more impressive portfolio of work, mentorship can be an invaluable experience.”
The TCI plan follows in the ancient time-honored tradition of mentorship, but today all you have to do is activate the magic of the Internet, go to the TCI sign in and choose from a fine selection of photographers. Our mentors work throughout the world from Bangladesh, Rome, Lebanon, New Zealand, Germany, Washington D.C., Chicago, and California among others. No problem. Now through Skype calls and the web, they all live wherever you do.
At your fingertips, you have access to their combined knowledge covering everything from fine art exhibiting to creating award-winning photojournalism stories, to photographing fashion, sports, adventure, as well as incorporating multimedia, video and more. The common denominator for all of these seasoned professionals is experience, especially the experience of living and working as a photographer.
Your first step, before registering is to know your goals. What do you hope to accomplish for the duration of your tuition? What time frame do you need: 1, 3, or 6 months to accomplish it? Which of our photographers would most closely match your vision? Read their profiles and websites to get a sense of who they are and what their work is like.
Once selected, you and your mentor will establish a mentorship path during a Skype call. All then that will be left to do is to perform agreed upon assignments, receive feedback and critiques and keep on going.
Again from David: “For students wanting to work on particular projects, while having a professional guiding them as they go, this program is then the perfect choice. It’s flexible, it’s one-on-one and provides a platform whereby students don’t need to feel ‘isolated’ in their venture and development as a photographer or video artist.”
A more in-depth description of the program is available here.
Mentorships start any time you and your mentor agree upon.
On July 11, The Compelling Image and acclaimed iPhoneographer Laura Peischl, ushered three eager students from various parts of the world across the portal into the incredible world of iPhoneography. As one of her fortunate students I can pull myself away from appamania only long enough to write this blog and to proclaim: “Wow! What a ride.” Thanks Laura
Even though this new medium is still very young, it is evolving with blazing speed and generating enormous interest. It is truly a perfect blending of everything about living in our digital age. But what is it about this object of desire that is causing nearly obsessive behavior by so many? Well, after nearly six weeks of playing around with the iPhone4 and iPad2 and the apps, I can understand its deep appeal. For many, finally they have found a way to joyously unlock their creative yearnings.
This feeling is expressed perfectly by Robin Sweet, one of my fellow coursemates:
“I am a film producer living in Concord, MA working in NY and…anywhere else the job takes me… and it is this new lifestyle of traveling that prompted my interest in photography. It was a way to process, express, and document new experiences…
It was on a road trip in June that I discovered the creative possibilities of iPhoneography. I was in the car for hours on end and began snapping photos and experimenting with apps. Having no art skills whatsoever all of a sudden I could express myself beyond anything I’d ever dreamed of. “
Another coursemate lives in a town near Dusseldorf, Germany. Until now, cardiologist, Brigitte Bathgate’s experience has focused upon medical imaging systems: MRI, CT Scans, and 3-D histograms. As Brigitte explains: “I am just a total beginner, not only with this genre, but with photography. I never had a camera of my own… Because I have only little spare time, but still like to express myself, I wanted to learn more about iPhoneography.
Brigitte is greatly enjoying Laura’s lessons and assignments but she also says…”I think it is also very much fun to interact among the course members. I can learn a lot just by communicating with [them]personally about pics, apps and techniques…For example I got a lot out of Laura´s comments for Robin´s landscape pic. I think that Laura’s idea of iphoneography suits my way of self-expression very well.”
And what is that “way of self-expression?” In critiquing a beautiful landscape by Brigitte, Laura encouraged her to go further, to get edgier, to take it out of the realm of “ordinary photography.” In Laura’s words:
“iPhoneography needs strong emotions, colors, statements, that is why we have so many apps!!!! App every pic as much as you can, try as many apps and filters as you can on it, iPhoneography is like a trance, let yourself go and see where the apps will lead you!!! This is the fun of it!!! The world of photography doesn’t need us, iPhoneographers, for beautiful pics like this[ed note:the landscape she was critiquing]. There are by far better cams for it! We are here to shock and rock the world of photography, to do something that no other classical photographer can do!!!! :)) “
As a “classical” photographer, all I can say is get ready for the revolution to gather even more steam because Laura Peischl’s passionate stance about the role of iPhoneography in today’s world is shared by tens of thousands, nay hundreds of thousands, of fellow citizens across the iPhoneography community.
In the meantime, classical, shmassical. who cares? Join the fun. Join the revolution. Get lost in the trance in Laura’s course at The Compelling Image and bring your friends. I am having a great time getting inspired, learning the apps, and pushing the limits of my inner creative genius. But be warned, the one thing we agree heartily upon is that the apps are addictive and I am not kidding. As I said in the comments section of our “classroom”:
“I can’t stop. I am beginning to get worried. Maybe in a few months there will be a group called iPhoneographers Anonymous, like AA.”
Nobody disagreed, but nobody cared. We were too much in our app trance to let it bother us.
A big thanks to my classmates, Robin and Brigitte for their comments. By the way, Laura is in Malta and I am in Mexico…just to add to the international mix.
Join the iPhoneography – My Photography adventure (4 weeks)
Classes begin each week during July and August
View more of Laura’s work here
Every photo is as good as the eye behind it. However, in the case of iPhoneography, the post processing paired with fantasy and a vision, can lead to works of art even when the raw picture is – perhaps – nothing thrilling and … this is where the big adventure starts. Laura Peischl
Ok I can hear some teeth gnashing from traditionally trained photographers, those of us who were taught to precisely expose and compose in the camera and not to tinker around with our images. Don’t expect this with iPhoneography because it stands everything we learned on its head. The name of this game is spontaneity and experimentation.
This new medium integrates all that has absorbed us into the digital age, including instant gratification and addiction to the need for the latest, greatest toys through the app store. In fact through the apps, every known photographic technique from tintypes to HDR has been replicated. It is easy to get seduced by all of this brilliance.
In fact in some cases, it may be better to not be weighed down by old rules. Just go out with iPhone in hand and play. That is exactly what Laura Peischl did and now, in a relatively short time. her knowledge and work is in demand in galleries and blogs all over the web, the U.S. and Malta where she makes her home. In the next week or so, she will be the featured artist on one of the most important “go to” iPhoneography blogs in the iPhone stratosphere. And she will be teaching the rest of us how to do it through her TCI course, iPhoneography – My Photography.
I first became aware of Laura’s work through Pixels-The Art of the iPhone blog featuring iPhone artists exhibiting their work at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art in California. It was jaw-dropping to see what these artists were producing, including Laura whose work on her blog intrigued me.
I am happy to be starting her course next week and was eager to learn her views about this exciting new art form.
Sallie Kravetz: Is there any particular theme, vision or style that you create from with your work? Do you aspire to a particular style? In fact do you think it can be possible with an iPhone?
Laura Peischl: I have to start with the last question because the answer to it is YES, definitely. The apps already existing for photo processing on the iPhone and iPad offer such diversity that almost everything is possible.
As regarding my style, like all my fellow iPhoneographers that have been part of this new art form the very beginning, I went through almost every kind of theme. I, and all of us, grew photographically with the iPhone and we went through many different styles in order to find what attracts us most. I wouldn’t say that I have a special style because this statement would exclude other styles and I love to cross borders and experiment.
Sometimes I do get comments on my pictures saying “so Laura style” but I think it has more to do with my way of depicting emotions
SK: Can you explain the craze bordering on addiction with this new genre? What draws people to it?
LP: Oh, yes! I am an addict myself. And any other passionate iPhoneographer would describe him/herself this way. When it comes to what draws people to it, I think it lays first in the nature of the iPhone, a device that is always with you and can be used anytime. Furthermore, the existence of some apps that are easy to use and yet produce highly attractive results, like Hipstamatic and ShakeIt…enable anyone to get funky or stylish results in seconds.
Another very important aspect is the social aspect. One no longer takes a picture and then has to wait to get home to the computer, download it and than share it on a social media platform. Most apps offer the possibility of linking your account to all the major social media platforms and enable immediate sharing.
SK: What is your vision for your work professionally? Do you think that one could earn income from this medium in some way? Or is it for the pure creative adventure that people get hooked on it?
LP: Well, this is a most discussed issue on many iPhoneography blogs. It all started as a big and passionate creative adventure and it has come a long way. Now it has turned into an accepted art form.
Fortunately, many galleries and museums got hooked as well by the amazing artworks of some great iPhoneographers and, with each exhibition, the possibilities of selling prints are growing as well. Many photographs taken and processed with an iPhone have made their way as book and even CD covers. Many are used for advertising purposes on web pages of different companies and there are already quite a few books showing only iPhone photos.
In my opinion, the iPhone and the iPad used professionally, offer unlimited creative possibilities and we are all working to promote this new and exciting form of art and to explore all it’s possibilities.
SK: What do you hope to teach your students through your iPhoneography course through TCI’? What do you hope to see in their work?
LP: When it comes to iPhoneography there are two aspects: the technical and the creative. What I want and have to teach the students first, is how to use and understand the apps, first one by one, and then, how to get the feeling for combining different features of different apps to refine their work and give it that special, personal touch that makes one’s style. And yet, like with any other camera, every photo is as good as the eye behind it but in the case of iPhoneography, the post processing paired with fantasy and a vision, can lead to works of art even when the raw picture is maybe nothing thrilling and ….. this is where the big adventure starts!
Join the iPhoneography – My Photography adventure (4 weeks)
Classes begin each week during July and August
View more of Laura’s work here
“I am on an endless journey…to find a real world of humanity. This thirst is eternal. I will keep walking, touching every face I drop through my lens. I will show the world those unknown stories of suffering. If a single hand comes to give them shade, that is the real honor of my sweat” Gmb Akash
Passion and compassion play a huge role in the life, work and teaching of Bangladeshi photographer, Gmb Akash. In 1996, he discovered his passion for photography. Since then he has worked tirelessly, not only to feed that passion, but to use it to champion the cause of the unseen and exploited peoples of society, particularly in the Asia-Pacific area.
Today, his work has been featured in over 45 major international publications and has earned him over sixty prestigious awards. However, as Akash says: “I never do photography…to gain any award. My first rule is to capture what my eyes and heart catches. Taking photos to feed passion may be the most important invisible factor to win competitions.”
Behind Akash’s tireless dedication is his mission to use his camera, physical stamina and heart to speak for the downtrodden, mostly children, whom he calls “survivors.”
On their behalf, Akash is currently racing toward the finish in one of his most challenging competitions thus far. This time the race is between time and funding needed to complete a ten year project entitled fittingly, “Survivors.” The explanation of the project sponsored by Emphas.Is, a new public funding approach to visual journalism projects, can be seen in the video clip below.
In his statement at Emphas.Is, Akash summarizes:
“Survivors” depicts the invincibility of the human spirit to survive against all odds. People who live on the edges of society have had a big impact on me and have been a great inspiration to me as a person and in my career… These people are deprived of even the basic necessities of life, yet they manage to live each day with a smile on their faces. In the project, I trace the lives of those whose existence is based on serving others rather themselves. They have no means to break the vicious circle, which is infinitely imposed upon them like a curse.”
As I write today’s post, Akash’s funding effort to produce his book and provide for special projects for some of his “survivors,” needs only $600 more dollars within the next 32 days to reach his goal. I personally plan to contribute and hope some of you will also.
Along with his heartfelt dedication to his people, Akash’s photographs are stunningly beautiful for their craftsmanship and their searing humanity. I was especially moved by the stories on his blog which accompany each photograph.
TCI is honored to have Gmb Akash as one of its instructors on our highly acclaimed team of international award-winning photographers. Akash teaches Street Photography: Classic and Creative and, as with his personal work, he looks to the heart when guiding his students. I was interested in his approach to the course. Here is what he told me:
“I believe dedication and unconditional love for any particular topic is the best choice for making or deciding subject/projects for students. A shot can not be perfect unless one gives his/her all possible devotion to the topic and. if not. it will be lifeless. We should not blindly follow someone, but should make versatile attempts. Also mostly we should work to feed a photographic soul rather than only work for another medium or persons.
For becoming a powerful photographer I believe the first quality needed is to take spontaneous shots without taking a rest and loving it. Street photography is a very interesting subject. Taking spontaneous photos can make students able to know what is interesting and what is not. Later they can cover stories based upon their experience, and trust me, they will be [amazed] by their ability to choose stories.”
Study with this amazing photographer and. if your heart is moved to do so, please support his project at Emphas.Is.
Street Photography: Classic and Creative (4 weeks)
Classes begin every week during July
Our last post featured Vlad Sokhin, the first alumnus of the Emerging Photographer Program offered through The Compelling Image. Since then, one of his stories has been published in Ogoniok, a well known Russian magazine.
Even though Vlad was already a budding photojournalist before embarking upon the TCI program, I wondered if the TCI program had helped him sell the story. Vlad told me that David Bathgate’s course, Photojournalism: Telling the Story in Pictures, taught him how to produce a story from the first idea to a completed package ready for an editor’s desk.Vlad says: “I followed David’s advice and it worked with the Obama story. Barely two weeks passed from the last shot to when it was published in the Russian magazine, Ogoniok.”
While the colorful photo layout seen above landed on the pages of the magazine, Vlad’s letter to the editor tells a deeper story. Here are excerpts used with the photographer’s permission.
About a month ago…I was photographing in Nairobi, Kisumu town and Kogelo village, where Barack Obama’s relatives live…In Nairobi I met with George Hussein Obama, the youngest half-brother of the U.S. President. [Editor’s note: First photo top left in the tear sheet] George makes his living by selling the Obama name. He attempts to sell his own interviews and pictures and organizes visits to his ‘house’ in Huruma slum.
According to my taxi-driver, David Ngatuku, who has come to Huruma many times with tourists, friends of George Obama scare visitors on the narrow streets of the slum, demanding them to pay extra money for an ‘Obama tour.’
George Obama tried to sell me ‘inside information’ about Obama having a 1-year-old son about whom no one knows. ‘If you pay me 3.5 million shillings (about 50,000 USD) I will let you take his photo. Even CNN doesn’t have his picture. You will make much more money on this story,’ he said.
It was lucky that my fixer knew how to translate sheng, a strange bastardization of English and Swahili. He told me George Obama asked his friends to find a small boy so he could sell his photo for a big amount of money. All his speech has been recorded, and I have files proving my story. George Obama was drunk both times I met him.
My story is about how the Kenyan people love Barack Obama, how the youngest Obama cashes in on his half-brother’s name and why an Obama safari costs more than climbing Mount Kilimanjaro
So far, no U.S. publication has picked up the story, but who knows, with the 2012 election right around the corner, it could provoke interest from either side.
On another story, Vlad used some good advice received during his Portfolio Review with Ami Vitali. She told him not to just show places of where he had been, but rather to show places and people that no one or few may have seen before.
In his Spirits of Mozambique project, Vlad has done just that. He spent nearly a year documenting the traditional beliefs and rites of Mozambicans. The project consists of three parts: Mozambican Traditional Healers; Gule Wankulu, the Great Dancers of Chichewa; and Exorcism in Zion Church. Hopefully, a book will be published within the next year.
To get a feel for being there, take a look at Vlad’s dramatic video below of Mozambican Traditional Healers.
To wrap up this week’s post, here’s another piece of advice Vlad received from Ami Vitali: every single photo should have a well written caption. Sometimes editors don’t want to buy a whole story. They may have space for just one picture. If a caption is well written with enough detail, that one photograph may well sell as a stand alone image.
For more information about the Emerging Photographer Program, click here
Last November The Compelling Image (TCI) reported that it had teamed up with Photojournale “a key player in the future of visual storytelling and photography publication on the Internet.” The partnership led to the Emerging Photographer Program. Several weeks ago, Vlad Sokhin, the first of TCI’s graduates emerged from the program…brilliantly.
Vlad’s Photojournale exhibition: A Time of Crocodiles | Human and Nature Clash in Mozambique explores the relationship between the crocodile-filled Zambezi River, a culture governed by ancient beliefs, government favoritism toward foreign hunters and an increasing loss of limbs and lives.
Like so many of TCI’s instructors and students, Vlad is a global citizen: Russian born, resident of Lisbon Portugal and about ready to return there enroute to relocating to Australia. I was eager to know more about his work and experience as a TCI student so I contacted him in Tete, Mozambique with a round of questions. Here’s what he had to say:
With such high quality stories already under your belt, what drew you to The Emerging Photographer program at TCI and how did you hear of the program?
I found the TCI web-site on the Internet a couple of years ago. It seemed very interesting to me, but I didn’t have a chance to do a course. Then, in the beginning of this year, my wife asked me what I would like to receive for my birthday. In the Mozambican town, Tete, it’s very hard to find anything to offer. I remembered about TCI and we checked it together and found The Emerging Photographer Program. I told her: “That’s what I want!”
Which courses did you take?
I chose the Documentary Photography / Photojournalism Track. This program has three parts: Photojournalism with David Bathgate, Street Photography with G.M.B. Akash and a Portfolio Review with Ami Vitale.
How was the experience for you? How did it compare to face-face instruction?
We are all accustomed to face-face lessons. But it looks like it will be a thing of the past soon. More and more universities offer their students on-line courses, including master degrees. As for me, it was the only option to learn more about documentary photography and photojournalism whilst already working with it far away from the civilized world. And I enjoyed the learning.
Did the way the courses are set up time wise blend in well with your already busy schedule? How much time did it take for you to complete the program?
I was always late for my assignments. In the beginning of the course I had a motorcycle accident and was recovering from it for two weeks. Also my first story wasn’t very easy to shoot, so it took me extra time. In Africa nothing is fast, you have to relax and wait. It reflected in my assignments. The whole course took me about 4 months, but I finished it on time. I do want to thank my tutors for being patient with me.
Describe the process of interacting with your instructors: email, critiques, skype?
Usually I was messaging through the TCI web-site. Also we had email exchanges and I talked by skype with David Bathgate and, for the portfolio review, with Ami Vitale. She helped me a lot to understand what I actually have to show to the editors on my opening portfolio and what I need to do to produce deeper photo-essays.
What would you say is the main benefit of a program like this one?
For me the biggest benefit was meeting new people from the photography world. I studied photography for two years and had a separate course in Photojournalism. In the TCI course I learned a different way of approaching the stories I was working on. The past courses taught me how to produce a photo-essay but in the TCI program, I have also learned how to package it and how to propose the story to the editor.
Who would benefit from this program?
I already worked in photojournalism for a couple of years and I found the Emerging Photographer Program very helpful for me. I would recommend it to beginners because of its simplicity for learning and to the advanced photographer who wants to improve his/her skills. And the teachers “adjust” their help and attention to a student depending upon his experience in that photographic area.
Vlad’s rich experience will soon be followed by other Emerging Photography students.
Anne Salminen is Finnish, married to an Italian and living in Nairobi. She is doing a story on poor Kenyan women empowering themselves via a knitting co-op established by a Norwegian woman.
Kasandra Antoine is Haitian American teaching English in South Korea. Her story has to do with migrants from North Korea living and working in the South.
We will delve more deep ly into their projects after they have completed them. As well, we will delve more deeply next post into Vlad’s experience and stories of The Spirits of Mozambique. Be prepared for the mysterious.