Women from Los Ageles

Los Angeles is a hot bed of creativity and promise. But it can also feel isolated and unreceptive. For photographic duo Kendrick Brinson and David Walter Banks, their new project, LA Woman, was an opportunity to showcase this wealth of female talent whilst connecting women within their community.

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The ongoing portrait series profiles creative female Angelinos’ in their invariably beautiful L.A. homes. “I think someone’s home is a good representation of who they are,” Brinson tells TIME. “If it’s sloppy or if there’s beautiful art everywhere…it’s a way to visually show someone’s personality beyond how they dress or how they do their hair.”
Brinson and Banks’ offbeat style translates personality into beautiful imagery and with these shoots, no planning was needed. “We really reserve these as a time for total spontaneity,” says Banks. “We’re seeing [the space] for the first time so we are inspired simply by what we see.” The portraits are also an opportunity for the pair to experiment without the pressures of a client’s expectations. “We’ll see a little crystal hanging from the window that’s casting a rainbow across the room and try to shoot something that incorporates that,” Banks adds.

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The women’s trades are diverse; from comedy actors to painters to musicians and, as is common in LA, many have side projects. “What’s been really cool is that each person isn’t just a singer, each person isn’t just a ceramicist,” says Brinson. “They’re a ceramicist but also a vintage car hunter and a hand model.”

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Though the project wasn’t begun as a reaction to the women’s rights movements, the pair believes it very much speaks to the movement. “We do both consider ourselves feminists and were both raised by strong creative mothers,” says Brinson. She believes that women are “completely marginalized” in American society, particularly in Hollywood but also in creative fields more generally.

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“It’s not easy being a creative person who’s self-employed. It can be very lonely. I know exactly how it feels,” says Brinson. She hopes this project helps to give creative women more visibility, as well as offering those who are just starting out some inspiration.

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“These strong, wonderful women are doing it; they’re living their dreams,” she says.
LA Woman works by nomination meaning everyone featured is connected in some way. “It’s a special community that we’re accidentally building,” says Brinson. Conversely this has meant the pool is somewhat limited and the majority of women are fairly young and at the start of their career. But this is also intentional. “Though there are tons of amazing 55-and-up artists, we’re trying to keep it to the young female creative,” says Banks. “There’s a shared energy of excitement and hope for the future. For what they’re going to become, for who they want to be.”

Alexandra Genova / TIME MAGAZINE

This Is Why Film Photography Is Making a Comeback

CES, once known as the Consumer Electronics Show, is usually the stuff of drones, smart home gear and other high-tech gadgets. But this year, as thousands of people attended the annual tech gathering in Las Vegas, a 129-year-old brand stole the limelight. Kodak Aliris, the firm that bought Kodak’s film segments, announced during the event that it would reintroduce Ektachrome, a color reversal film discontinued in 2012.

Ektachrome’s revival, which surprised and pleased many photographers, comes as the film photography market is on the up after more than a decade of decline. “The film market peaked in 2003 with 960 million rolls of film, today it represents roughly 2% of that,” says Manny Almeida, president of Fujifilm’s imaging division in North America.

But in the last three years, companies like Kodak, Fujifilm and Harman Technology, which manufactures the popular Ilford Photo black-and-white films, have been experiencing a comeback. “We’re seeing film growth of 5% year-on-year globally,” says Giles Branthwaite, the sales and marketing director at Harman. “Our professional film sales have been increasing over the last two or three years,” confirms Dennis Olbrich, president of Kodak Alaris’ imaging, paper, photo chemicals and film division.
Professional photographers are primarily fueling this growth, thanks to a new generation of practitioners who grew up with digital but have begun dabbling in film, says Olbrich: “They discover the magic of film photography and many of them simply fall in love with it.”

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Many modern film photographers are portrait and wedding photographers in their 20s and 30s who are looking to “differentiate their art and their work by shooting film,” Almeida tells TIME. “That usually allows them to charge for a premium product because film has a different look and feel than digital.”

That look is key, adds Olbrich. “At Kodak, we’re very data-driven,” he says. “We look at every aspect of an image and try to quantify it, but there’s just a depth and richness in a film image that’s hard to replicate otherwise. That’s really the reason why a lot of influential motion pictures cinematographers demand to use film.” And now, professional photographers are making the same demands. “This group of photographers often uses the fact that they shoot film as a competitive advantage in their marketing.”

Film, meanwhile, pushes photographers to rethink how they shoot. “You can’t just shoot a hundred shots of your subject and review them immediately,” says Olbrich. “Film forces you to think about the image, plan the image and really create the image mentally before you actually do the shoot. Film photographers believe that this process results in much more artistic and, in some cases, much more spectacular images.”

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Film manufacturers have taken notice. They’re now rejuvenating their sales and marketing efforts, with Harman pushing for the creation of new courses, new darkrooms and exhibitions across the U.K. and the U.S. Kodak is retooling its entire social media strategy and if this year’s CES is any indication, Kodak has certainly struck a chord with film-curious photographers. While it will take a year for Ektachome to be available again, the company is already working on what comes next. “That gave us some confidence to start to look at what films we would consider bringing back into the marketplace,” says Olbrich.

Fujifilm, on the other hand, is looking at another segment to grow its film business: instant photography. “It’s a huge market for us,” says Almeida. Fujifilm believes it sold more than 6.5 million instant cameras last year, up from 3.9 million in 2014 (a full accounting of those sales will be published at the end of the month.) And new products continue to come out of Fujifilm’s factories. Last year, it launched a black-and-white instant film, and in the coming months it will unveil a new film that will mimic Polaroid’s famous square format.

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“We’ve done a lot of consumer research to try to understand how consumers feel about the product, what’s their behavior, how do they buy it,” Almeida adds. “A lot of consumers indicate that they don’t even look at Instax as photography. It’s fun, it’s relaxed, it’s social communication.”

Despite its different appeal, the popularity of Instax benefits the entire film market as more people experience analogue photography’s distinct appeal. “What surprises me, really, is that it’s taken 15 years since digital penetrated the photography market for this resurgence to happen,” says Branthwaite.

*Olivier Laurent / editor of TIME LightBox

Για αυτούς τους λίγο πιο “ρομαντικούς”

Πάνε αρκετά χρόνια να ζήσω από κοντά όλη αυτή την μαγεία που μπορεί να σου προσφέρει ο σκοτεινός θάλαμος. Και λέω μαγεία γιατί αυτό που σου προσφέρει είναι να δημιουργήσεις εσύ την φωτογραφία σου όπως την θες. Το μέγεθος, τους χρωματισμούς, τους φωτισμούς, τις σκιές, την σύνθεση της κτλ.

Δεν υπάρχει καμιά αμφιβολία πως ο κάθε φωτογράφος που έχει ζήσει από κοντά την εμπειρία του σκοτεινού θαλάμου έχει να πει τα καλύτερα. Ποιο τυχεροί αυτοί της παλαιάς γενιάς που ήταν της εποχής του. Από τη γένια την καινούργια οι περισσότεροι προφανώς και έχουν περάσει αυτό το στάδιο. Για να επανέλθω στην εισαγωγή μου, έζησα την εμπειρία του σκοτεινού θαλάμου πριν από 18 χρόνια και θυμάμαι ελάχιστα πράγματα, ουσιαστικά εντελώς περιληπτικά.

Ο Τεχνών Χώρος στη Λάρνακα μας έδωσε όμως την ευκαιρία να ζήσουμε ξανά την εμπειρία του σκοτεινού θαλάμου.

Βρεθήκαμε εκεί γύρω στις 7 το απόγευμα. Ο Γιώργος και η Αριάνα αφού μας μίλησαν λίγο για την λειτουργία του φιλμ, μας έβαλαν αρχικά να φωτογραφίσουμε στο στούντιο με ασπρόμαυρο φιλμ και στη συνέχεια μεταφερθήκαμε στο μέρος που θα γινόταν πρώτα η εμφάνιση του φιλμ και στη συνέχεια η εκτύπωση του.

Μετά τα εισαγωγικά για τα χυμικά και την διαδικασία που χρειάζεται, εμφανίσαμε το φιλμ και ετοιμαστήκαμε για την εκτύπωση. Ετοιμάσαμε την πλάκα με το αρνητικό μέσα στο μεγεθυντήρα και στην συνέχεια πήραμε το φωτογραφικό μας χαρτί και εφαρμόσαμε την φωτογραφία στο μέγεθος του χαρτιού. Στη συνέχεια ορίσαμε τα δευτερόλεπτα που χρειαζόταν να ”κάψουμε” το χαρτί για προχωρήσουμε στα παρακάτω.

Και ήρθε η στιγμή για το τελετουργικό. Το χαρτί σου απλώνεται στο πρώτο χυμικό και περιμένεις για ένα λεπτό μέχρι να αρχίσει να εμφανίζεται η φωτογραφία σου. Αυτό είναι και το ποιο μαγευτικό. Σου δίνει την αίσθηση ότι εξαργυρώνονται οι κόποι σου και οι προσπάθειες σου. Το χαρτί μετά μεταφέρεται στο χυμικό του σταθεροποιητή για περίπου 15 δευτερόλεπτα και στη συνέχεια στο τρίτο χυμικό για 2 λεπτά. Αν το αποτέλεσμα είναι ικανοποιητικό προχωράς στο πλύσιμο της φωτογραφίας και στο στέγνωμα της. (Εξυπακούεται πως αν δεν έχεις το αποτέλεσμα που θες ξαναγίνεται η ίδια διαδικασία μέχρι να τα καταφέρεις). Προσωπικά χρειάστηκε να κάνω τρεις φορές την διαδικασία για να πετύχω το αποτέλεσμα που θέλαμε.

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Φεύγοντας από το χώρο μείναμε με τις καλύτερες εντυπώσεις και την ικανοποίηση για την εμπειρία που αποκτήσαμε και το τελικό αποτέλεσμα.

Advanced Techniques for night photography with light

Rusty Parkhurst is an author on improvephotography.com and he explains some tips for night photography with light.

Using Multiple lights:
There is no need to limit yourself or your image to just one light. Experiment with using different colored lights, different types of lights, and place them in different areas of the image to really add depth and dimension. In the image below, I used a small LED light to illuminate the bucket of the bulldozer. Then, a speedlight with a red gel attached was popped behind the glass of the cab to provide some backlighting and color. A yard light behind me provided some additional light to the image. This image was created with a single 30-second exposure. Care was taken in moving around in the dark to prevent tripping or possibly knocking the tripod over. Additionally, I made sure that lights were shut off as I walked through the frame to prevent unwanted light streaks.

Light Orbs:
Light orbs are tons of fun to make and, with the right tools and a little practice, aren’t all that difficult. You may recall that late last year, the Improve Photography team beat the previous world record for the most orbs in a single exposure. You can read about it and watch the awe-inspiring video here. While you may not be out to break any world orbing records, you can still have a lot of fun making these images.

Photo by Rusty Parkhurst Photography (www.rustyparkhurst.com)

Making light orbs will require some of the same basic tools used for other light painting techniques. You will set up your camera on a tripod since the exposure time will be up to 30 seconds or longer. Use the 10-second timer or a remote shutter release to start the exposure. The one main difference is the light source. Or, more accurately, the contraption that is used to create the orb. There are a number of ways to construct a light orb-maker. The heroes of the Improve Photography team built special orb-making devices consisting of a PVC frame and LED lights. My setup is much more low-tech and can be made using some pretty simple items that you either have around the house or can be bought rather inexpensively at a dollar store or Walmart.

Here is what I use:

  • Small LED flashlight with an eyelet on the end for attaching a keyring. Make sure it is an inexpensive light (see below).
  • String or twine, cut to the right length so that the light will be close to the ground without hitting.
  • A lint roller, with the sticky roll removed (like I said, low-tech). This serves as a handle and will spin easily with the light attached.
  • Some type of colored, translucent ball to attach to the end of the flashlight. I used the plastic ball from a cheap toy and hot-glued it to the end of the light.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Set up the camera on a tripod.
  • Determine where you will stand to make the orb. Use something to mark your spot so you can find it easily each time.
  • Auto-focus on the area where you will be standing, then switch to manual focus on the camera or lens.
  • Try a test exposure to get the look you want. Depending on how dark it is, I may start with a wide open aperture (f/2.8 on my lens), 30 second shutter, and ISO 400.
  • Set the camera to the 10-second timer mode.
  • Start the timer and walk to your spot.
  • Turn on the light and begin spinning it as you slowly rotate your body. Try to keep your hand in roughly the same position so the orb will be more spherical.

Photo by Rusty Parkhurst Photography (www.rustyparkhurst.com)

After the shutter is closed, check the image on the LCD. Make any necessary exposure adjustments, and try it again.

There is certainly no exact science to doing this. You may think of other ways to make an orb-maker. Make sure the light is securely attached and that the string is securely attached to whatever you are using to hold it. On one occasion, the string broke in the middle of an exposure and my flashlight created a streak of light like a shooting star as it fell to the ground some distance away (shown in the feature image for this article). I prefer to use a handle to hold the string, as it is easier than holding the string in your hand. The lint roller was my inexpensive solution, but I’m sure there are many other options.

Steel wool:
I was hesitant to mention this one, as some reckless photographers have caused some real problems using this technique in recent months. In April of this year, some photographers burned down an historic building in Florida as a result of doing steel wool photography. This technique uses a device much like the orb, except that instead of a light, burning steel wool is spun around, throwing sparks in all directions. The images that can be created are really interesting. However, it must be done safely and in an appropriate place. Or not at all.

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There are numerous tutorials on how to do steel wool photography on-line, so I won’t go into much detail here. Basically, fine grade steel wool is placed into a metal kitchen whisk and lit using a lighter or 9-volt battery. The whisk is attached to a chain that you hold and spin around as the steel wool burns. Spinning the burning steel wool causes it to burn hotter and throw sparks. The camera captures the circular motion and a shower of sparks.

If you do try this, be sure to wear eye protection, gloves, and clothing to cover you body. Most importantly, make sure you are well away from anything that could burn, and also aware of where other people are in the scene. Ideally, this would be done on a wide open area of concrete, a sandy beach, or bare earth. It just takes a little common sense and the realization that sometimes just because it can be done, doesn’t mean that it should.

Tips for Black and White Photography from Matthew Tapley

Black and White Photography Tip #1: Shoot in RAW. Many times when I shoot for black and white, the photo just doesn’t turn out right when I finally review it on the computer. By shooting in RAW, you’ll be able to change your mind later if the photo wasn’t as great in black and white as you’d hoped.

Black and White Photography Tip #2: Give your photo some Silver Effex. Silver Effex Pro 2 is a Photoshop or Lightroom plugin that does one thing–make black and white photos look incredible. In theory, you could replicate everything that Silver Effex Pro 2 does using Photoshop, but I have to confess that I have never been able to do it. Black and whites look absolutely stunning in Silver Effex Pro 2. The program is a bit pricey, but it is worth the money if you love black and white. In fact, when I look at black and white produced by other photographers, I like to think I can tell if Silver Effex Pro 2 was used on the image. Check it out here.

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Black and White Photography Tip #3: To visualize in black and white, only pay attention to lines, shadows, and shapes. This trick is very helpful to aid photographers in pre-visualizing a black and white image even though we live in a color world.

Black and White Photography Tip #4: Pay special attention to noise. With the outstanding low light performance of modern DSLR cameras, in addition to the noise removal programs at our disposal, photographers are used to getting away with noise.

Black and White Photography Tip #5: Look for contrast. In my experience, the best black and white photos usually have some portion of the photo that is near to pure white, and some portion of the photo that is near black. This increased contrast adds interest to the scene.

Black and White Photography Tip #6: Find a wide range of grays. Having white and black in the image will help add interest to a picture, but if other areas do not have a wide range of varying tones of gray, the photo will most likely look dull. You can achieve a a wider range of grays by using flash to throw highlights and shadows over certain areas of the photo.

Black and White Photography Tip #7: Use a polarizer. When shooting around reflective surfaces such as water or leaves, use a polarizer to cut the reflections of the sun’s light. When color is removed from the photo, these specular highlights can be distracting the overall composition.

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Black and White Photography Tip #8: Watch for texture. As long as texture is not front-lit, it will show contrast in fine details, which makes it a compelling subject for black and white. This is why black and white photos of old items such as barns or antiques are so compelling–they have a lot of weathered texture.

Black and White Photography Tip #9: Use the correct terminology: Black and white, monochrome, grayscale. “Monochrome” means that a color is placed on a neutral background. Therefore, black and white images, which put black on a white background, are a type of monochrome image. Grayscale is merely a way to show black and white images on a computer, which uses a reduced set of shades of gray.

Black and White Photography Tip #10: Look for patterns. Patterns are interesting because of their ordered repetition. Color merely distracts us from giving the pattern our attention. By using black and white, images of patterns are far more compelling. Once you start looking for patterns to shoot in black and white, you’ll notice them everywhere: cars in a parking lot, the shoes of a wedding party standing in line, or a row of bushes.

Black and White Photography Tip #11: Long exposures love black and white. I read this tip on the fantastic Digital Photography School website and decided to try it on an image that I took a few months ago. I didn’t like the picture and had almost deleted it until I read that tip and applied black and white to the photo.

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Black and White Photography Tip #12: B&W isn’t a replacement for bad lighting, but it can soften the blow. The photo of the deer on this page is an example of a photo that looked terrible in color, but which looks nice in black and white. I shot the photo at high-noon. Because I used a polarizer, I was able to cut out the reflections on the leaves and mask the fact that it was shot in terrible light.

Black and White Photography Tip #13: Don’t get fooled. I confess to have made this mistake many times. Sometimes I have shot a photo that includes very little color. For example, a close-up of a penguin, or a night sky, or a dalmatian dog. When I see these photos in Lightroom, I often reach for the black and white tools immediately, but I am always disappointed. If the photo is practically colorblind to begin with, it probably won’t look as good in black and white as in color.

Black and White Photography Tip #14: Shoot in HDR!!! I’m actually surprised how little attention is given to black and white HDRs on the web. I am so convinced of the merit of the black and white HDR that I spent an entire chapter in my HDR eBook talking explaining how to do it. HDR is great for black and white photography because it exaggerates the dynamic range and edges. Nothing pops quite like a black and white HDR.

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Black and White Photography Tip #15: HSL is the secret sauce. The last black-and-white tip is probably the most important. When post-processing a black and white, you absolutely MUST tweak the colors in the HSL panel in Photoshop or Lightroom. An exact tutorial on how to do this would be a blog post of its own, but your black and whites will look TEN TIMES better with an HSL adjustment.