Suspect Photography

words and images from david george brommer

Category: Finding and Developing Photographic Style

Casa Toscana and the Object Project

clock

The Object Project:

Things, tokens, neat items, nick knacks, jewelry, ephemera, and other personal treasures or just plain stuff can make a great project with an interesting narrative. Follow your instincts on the selection of items, but make sure a strand of relativity is connecting to each object. Choose a background to photograph the subjects which can be something as simple as a colored seamless background, fabrics, a table or a wall. Use you have access too, even shooting straight down to objects laying on a soft bed of fresh cut grass might be interesting. What ever you choose as your background, make sure you use it for the whole series. Now photograph the items by utilizing a “still life genre” technique.  Feel free to be explorative by adding other elements such as flower petals, rocks, wood, toothpicks, or anything that “works” with the subjects.

Hasselblad 80mm 2.8 Distagon T* 120 Fujifilm 160ns

Hasselblad 80mm 2.8 Distagon T* 120 Fujifilm 160ns

box one from Casa Toscana Project

In my series Casa Toscana, I began by documenting the rooms of our home in Italy. I was enthralled by the light pouring into the rooms at different times of day and got very inspired to capture the nuances of the Casa Toscana. I would photograph the larger objects that were integral to the rooms, such as the vintage refrigerator or furniture. Looking closer I began to inspect drawers and boxes and set up a still life station to photograph these “house treasures” on.

espresso

They included a vintage telephone, an old book, a toy. In contrast to the intricate environment of the home, I took these objects and placed them on white poster board and photographed them in indirect available light. I began by taping the poster board to the edge of the table top along a wall, and then taping the top of the board to an outside wall in indirect light. I easily created a “seamless” white background. The objects sit in a neutral white space that was clean and neat. Each object had an unspoken story that it was able to communicate, and also served to break up the projects direction that was a study in rooms, compositions, and light.

the old frigo

sewing_kit

bricks2

When I returned with this work to NYC I had the film developed and scanned. I’m not too thrilled with the scans, but I was able to create a stunning blurb book on the project. The overall idea really turned into something much more than I had planned for. I gave a copy of the book to a few members of Barbara’s family and it brought some to tears to eyes of a special few.  That’s how you know you did a good job, when you make the client cry. Please take a look at my Blurb Book Store to view the book and yes, it is available for purchase. I have a full preview of the book set up, so you can check out the whole story and all the images. The book is 111 pages!

jug

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start shooting objects… and put it in a project.

~David

All images shot with a Hassy and the 80mm f2.8 or the 50 f4.0. Film was Fujifilm 160NS and scanned at time of development. One note I have to make, I was never happy with the scans and I got lazy and had the lab do them. Normally I would bust out the Epson V750 and do it myself. I learned a lesson, the more you have your hands on it, the better the final result will be.

Film Based Cameras Mean Sh*t. Yea Right.

Louis Mendes outside of B&H Photo NYC 34th Street.

Louis Mendes outside of B&H Photo NYC 34th Street.

Shooting film is rare these days. That is not to say the film-based camera is irrelevant. Quite the opposite actually. The discipline of film has its merits, mostly in the form of personal choice of process than a distinct quality factor. Digital is as good as film, if not better. Film however is tactile and extremely deliberate. The tactile essence plays the human’s desire to make something solid, visible and touchable, because zeroes and ones that make up a digital file are abstract as they reside on a hard drive invisibly to your 5 senses. The negative, for all its flaws can be beheld with out the use of any other technology. Its existence is physically a substantial object and while the negative is not the end, it has a promises that it can create something very special in the form of the print. Holding a gorgeous hand printed image on an exotic paper where texture and the light of day expresses the latent image is a much different feeling than holding an iPad or viewing on a display. I won’t diminish the digital file, I’ll just say it’s an altogether alternate way of viewing the photograph. Certainly the digital file can be printed on a vast amount of papers and styles, so in the end, the way we create our photograph is moot.

Destined to view on a screen or as a print, film and digital are interchangeable. Negatives can be scanned, and digital negatives made as well. How we arrive at the finished photograph and the style of the work is paramount in the pursuit of finding photographic style. Take for instance the NY Photographer Louis Mendes. He excretes photographic style in his choice of camera and the way the image is delivered, (as a 4×5 instant print).

“Louis Mendes is a quintessential street photographer best known for his Speed Graphic camera, blocked hat and consistent suave style dubbed “Shaft with a camera.” Mendes is a staple in New York City to tourists and natives alike. He’s been photographed thousands of times cradling his Speed Graphic as if he were the Statue of Liberty holding her tabula ansata. Portraits of Louis Mendes have won awards internationally and grace the walls of galleries world-wide.”

Louis shoots in a jacket, fedora and with an old skool effeincecny that belies a true professional. Louis is a can do guy, and his smile is wonderful to behold. Read more about Louis and his Speed Graphic here, but his facebook info sums him up nicely:

Now thats photographic style. Cheers Louis.

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