Thursday, August 27, 2009
I have done a TON of music photography. The thing is, I rarely ever actually make edits of the pictures that I take. I think that the dilemma is that I take soooo many pictures, but most of the time they are all relatively similar. It is so easy to have this problem when photographing bands live. They are, for the most part, confined to a stage in which they sit upon, or pace back and forth on, maybe if you are lucky dance/jump around on. The shows I usually go to are not high budget groups, they have no pyrotechnics and giant teddy bears that rampage the stage and eat band members or what have you. The shows I attend are usually local or don't have a crazy huge fan base, there fore they have less money and as a result they don't really have many options as far as stage presentation / presence go. I do not blame the musicians for this dilemma, I believe they do what they can with what they have, and for the most part, put on a very satisying show. I do the best I can to vary the angles, the focus and surrounding details, but sometimes its just difficult to provie a range. It's really the elements of what is going around the band that make the picture. The way the stage looks, the people in the crowd, the groupies, the lights, etc.
With live band photography, it's all about capturing a very specific moment. A moment where you can tell that it was a very intense part in the song, or a very emotional part in the song. Capture that one expression on their face that says everything about what they are saying, even though you can't hear the words. Also capturing the movement of the hands is very telling. You can tell what chord the guitarist is playing, the symbol crashing, the keyboardist pausing, the singer breathing deep, etc. The goal is just to portray the performance as honestly as possible. You wouldn't go to a nine inch nails concert and take pictures that made them look very serene, that just doesn't make any sense! :)
Showing the expressions of audiences members can also be very telling.
The band in the pictures above is the band I have worked with the most. I shot a ton of their live shows as well as some of their promotional shots. Their promotional shots are all on my external so I shall get those up as soon as possible.
I also did the cover art for their first album. As well as a photography I do a lot of art and design. We are all from Manhattan KS and right outside of Manhattan is a military base. It is a pretty old military base and they used to test nuclear canons out there. So on the top of this huge hill right outside of fort riley is this huge expired nuclear canon. I think they really wanted to use that on their album cover because it was a solid marker of where we come from. I orginally went out and took some shots of the canon with some expired poloroid film [ I will try to put those up later as well] and also some with my digital camera. The ones with the expired poloaroid looked awesome, they looked as if they were taken when the camera was still active and have since then deterioated. If you can get a hold of expired polaroid film USE IT, it is amazing, but make sure you save it for something really worth while. We ended up not using the poloaroids. After I took the digital pictures I printed a few out and drew over them with ball point pen and permanent marker to make it look more stylized.
That is what they used for the cover. For the back I used a similar technique, but instead I used a picture from one of their live shows.
I was very satisfied with how the album turned out, and I think at the end of the day, the boys really liked it.
created by Havana at 9:37 AM
Sunday, August 9, 2009
At the beginning of the year I found out about KU Film Works and was really interested. I started going to meetings regularly but near the end of the semester it became harder and harder to set aside the time to go. I felt bad, but still wanted to help out in any way that I could. Second semester they had a pitching session and then picked one script they really wanted to work on. "Chekov's Gun" was the victor. An awesome, awesome script about a man who gets a heart donated to him and begins to have the same emotions as the donor [who killed himself]. He finds himself repeating the other mans lifestyle. I would put it in the drama genre. Excellent script. Excellent crew. I didn't have enough experience to help out with any of the actual crews so I agreed to take some behind the scenes shots.
This is a shot of Lisa making notes in the script, I think about lighting and/or the set decor. There were so many people at this shoot, and all of them seemed to be working their butts off. But these guys also play hard. Plenty of joking around, laughing and smiling. Something I love to see!
I haven't actually edited any of these images except for the first one. I wasn't sure which ones were meant to be promotional shots, or just for fun, so I didn't really bother. This is a shot of one the actresses rehearsing a scene before they actually shot. We were in a shed that they had sealed off so they could control the lighting themselves. Video cameras are much better at picking up low lighting situations then SLR's are, or at least you just have to try harder with a camera, haha. So some of these shots look a little subdued as far as color goes because of that, but I kind of like the effect it gave to the images.
Jon blocking off the shed from the daylight.
The main character becomes obsessed with watch making after getting his new heart. They had a really awesome watch making table set up in the shed. Took this so they could maybe use it as a promotional shot or something. I use it as a background on my lap top, heh.
Alex taking a good ole' fashion grandpa style smoking break.
More rehearsal! This shot was taken post fake blood all over the actor. Matt actually made this really amazing fake blood that looked fantastic! And also... tasted fantastic!! hahah. it was super delicious, I could eat spoonfuls of it! It had chocolate, and peanut butter for thickness... and... just tasty tasty things!
It was really fun getting to hang out with the crew and eventually I will burn a copy of all the images for them so they can marvel at what fantastic work they do.
If you would like to see more shots, check out my flickr!
created by Havana at 6:04 PM
A few months ago I started myself a model mayhem account! It was confusing at first but once I got a handle on it, I fell in love! For the next couple weeks I was constantly looking up models and photographers who were close at hand. I have already met so many amazing people through it.
Meet Andrea! [the other Andrea]. I was a little nervous meeting up with someone from online but I had spoken to her a lot through model mayhem and she seemed like a stand up gal. Before meeting we discussed what both of our styles were, and I asked her about what kind of shoot she was interested in doing. Andrea had not done any shoots with a similar style that I shoot with so she really wanted to go all out with this one. She was prepared to get down and dirty! [in a very clean way]
We talked about how most of her shoots to date were in a more modern style, like magazine cover kind of deal. I mentioned how I loved working with vintage looks and found objects and she was super psyched. She said that she originally got into modeling because she wanted to do pin-up style shots. So we ended up collaborating very well. :)
This location was introduced to me by my good friend Alex. He has lived in Lawrence all his life and I asked him to show me all the sweet spots. This was one of them. The first part of the shoot was taken on some train tracks and some in front of an older train station type thing. You pass the tracks then go into this wooded area and follow this winding path. Then suddenly you come into this clearing and there is this gigantic hole in the ground filled with slabs of concrete. As you crawl down into the hole there are a couple tunnels. One can be seen in the picture above. This one is most likely a city drainage tunnel. It goes impossibly far back and I would love to explore it some day! But the darkness that was in it, even in the middle of the day, contrasted amazingly with the white in Andrea's dress. The other tunnel had a shallow pool of water covering it and then spilled into the concrete graveyard. There is a shocking amount of graffiti in this area considering the difficulty it takes to get to it.
It seemed like Andrea was really nervous, but she did a fantastic job! She seems to be quite the natural at modeling! Her husband is in the army and she was telling me about how they got married really young but they are completely happy. It just really touched my heart. Things like that give me hope that the world isn't as bad as I think it is.
We did a lot of experimenting with motion, and capturing a very specific moment in time. Catching an action in the middle. I like a lot of the results! She had amazing control of her face. I think its so easy to forget about posing your face when your flailing around the rest of your body. Truly impressive!
My first experience working with anyone from model mayhem was a good one! I'm excited to work with more people, and I hope to get the pleasure of working with Andrea again! She was just a really cool girl. I got a ton of awesome images from this shoot.
To check out the entirety of the shoot, check out my flickr!
created by Havana at 3:09 PM
I did this shoot with my good friends Andrea and Kelly near the beginning of the school year, last year. We had been friends for awhile and they had seen some of my work and wanted to model for me for awhile. We went out and got some costumes and then snuck into the art and design building and used some of their flood lights that they use for still lives and models for the life drawing classes.
Both these ladies are super gorgeous.
This shoot was kind of difficult because the only kind of light I had access to was that really harsh direct flood light. I tried situating the light in different ways but it was all pretty unavoidable. There were a lot of images that I thought worked out in a compositional sense but the contrast wasn't there at all, or was too much. Was a real bummer when I looked back on the shots later.
So most of the shots I did like were very high contrast. I am obsessed with black and white so it is hard for me to stand low contrast images. bleh! They just don't transfer right into black and white.
A somewhat frustrating but very fun shoot :)
To check out the rest of this set see it on my flickr!
created by Havana at 2:31 PM
Presenting... Kaitlin! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!
We did this shoot in winter actually! It must have been 20 degrees or something stupid like that. Poor girl was shivering the whole time! She was an amazing trooper. And what is really amazing is she does not show that discomfort in any of these pictures. A natural model! Kaitlin is another one of my muses. She just has this fantastic natural notion of how to move her body. Her posing always feels very natural and not "pose-y" at all. Her body is always so relaxed, which helps avoid the chance of looking uncomfortable.
At first I was thinking that all the elements of the costume were going to be too much, but I think in the end they all pulled together to create something really visually interesting.
My dad was just storing this trunk in his office and I thought that it would be a great tool to play around with. Now we are using it as a coffee table in my new apartment :)
Haven't edited all of the images I have from this shoot either.
Had an amazing time shooting this set, even though it was freezing! At least I got to wear a jacket =p
To see the rest of this set check out my flickr account.
created by Havana at 1:17 PM
This is Monica! I have shot with her on numerous occasions and it is always an amazing experience! She is most certainly one of my muses. She has such an incredible natural beauty. And on top of being a stunning woman she is an amazing person! She is so much fun to shoot with because she loves joking around, and lord knows that girl makes me laugh. It always feels more like hanging out than work. And even with that laid back vibe she still helps me to produce some really beautiful images :)
Her eyes always blow me away! There is just such an intensity behind them.
All these pictures came from a single shoot. The first part of the shoot took place by the dam. There is this big concrete/metal tower that encloses this little rock and dirt area. We took a bunch of shots in there and some from that area looking out across the river. Really interesting little spot with some graffiti and broken glass and all that awesome stuff. heh.
The second part of the shoot we took in a nearby grassy area underneath the bridge that passed over the dam/river. I just loved how tall the grass was. The contrast between the stretch of the bridge and the blades really intrigued me. A very common parallel between nature and man but with an added sense of the linear and size contrast.
I got this awesome print fabric from a garage sale for a buck. I love the comparison between the "nature" pattern on the fabric to the pattern of actual nature.
Did some desaturating in this image to make her look more like the rocks and concrete surrounding her while still emphasizing the flower in her hair.
I tried with a few of these to make it look as if she was actually fusing herself with the nature surrounding her. Using the cloth to make a connection between her own body and the giant tree limb that she was sitting on. Human growth from nature.
There is actually a third part to the shoot that we did, but I haven't really gotten around to editing it yet. Shame on me!
I loved the amount of experimentation we did with this shoot, really playing with all the possibilities. Monica did a great job of interacting with the environment and that was exactly what I was looking for. :)
To see the whole set of these images, visit my flickr!
created by Havana at 10:17 AM