Suspect Photography

words and images from david george brommer

Tag: NYC

Bull Riding in NYC

ride3

I got a last minute invitation today to photograph the third and last day of PBR- Professional Bull Riding event at Madison Square Garden. Armed with my new Fujifilm XPro2 camera I hightailed it over to meet with long time friend and fellow photographer whose gig it was to shoot for Load It, an international trade magazine for productions. I hate to say this, but I think I have known photographer Todd Kaplan for very close to 3 decades. He’s a tried and true working pro- always gets the shot. Shoots with Canon. Good guy.

bullportrait

I heard we would have access, so I imagined cowboys in dressing rooms, ready to test their mettle on the backs of beasts. I grabbed the 18mm and 35 mm lenses in eager anticipation. I should have known how crummy the sodium vapor lights at the Garden are.

monster-girls

The Monster girls posing with their boss. At least he said he was their boss…

The cowboys were getting “in the zone” so no portraits of them occurred, I figured to make the most of the it and test out that new and improved AF system on the XPro2. I switched to high speed mode, AF servo and activated all focus points in with a wide AF center box. Ready to go!

ride2

Auto Focus Mode tracked the action no problem!

I’m usually an aperture priority kind a guy, but for this, I put the lens in A mode and set the camera to 1000 sec shutter speed. I opened up the auto ISO to a 12,500 cap. These settings worked like a charm!

ride5

8 frames per second and 1000th of second shutter nails the shot like the photographer was born in the bull pen. He wasn’t.

I shot these in the Film Sim mode using Across Green Filter setting. I figured the green would un-harsh the crappy stadium type lighting in B&W. My quick edit had me using the good old reliable Nik Silver EFX. I used the #22 ambrotype toning. I figured a warm look matched the classic bull riding theme of the photo shoot.

ride1

The bulls are the real stars.

Here is Todd working, it’s a tough job, someone has to do it.

todworking

bullincorral

MSG back stage, things are a little weird.

msgpbr

I finally found the picture I wanted, this cowboy was from Colorado, but has recently moved to Missouri. He works for 3 1/2 months, then gets to go home for a few weeks. He was cordial and really interested in the people he meets on the road. A gentleman. A gentleman cowboy.

cowboy

The last thing I’d like to convey, there were protesters outside of MSG. The crew I worked with Todd shooting were very professional and the cowboys taking care of the bulls were very respectful of the bulls. I saw no mistreatment and the bulls appeared to be .. well… bullish.

XPro 2 for sports? Yes!

~David

Advertisements

I Can’t Breath- But I Can Photograph

My favorite image of the day, to look up and see this display of people coming together with a flag flying was dramatic.

My favorite image of the day, to look up and see this display of people coming together with a flag flying was dramatic.

I want to establish right off the bat that this post is about photography, not the politics. My choosing to take my camera and record the protest does not indicate my personal feelings nor alignment. What I do feel is that as photographers we have a duty to record the world around us. We don’t have to make a living at it, but we are the observers whose observations can outlive us. Future generations will be able to look at your images and share an experience based on what you photographed. That is a scary thought in of itself, and photojournalism is extremely subjective and barely objective. I certainly seek objectivity in the matter, and feel I pretty much got it. I barely spoke to anyone; actually the only person I had a full conversation with was a NYC Parks Dept officer. Our conversation consisted of the fact that it was peaceful.

I don't usually shoot in panarama mode, but when I do it's for really really really big crowds.

I don’t usually shoot in panarama mode, but when I do it’s for really really really big crowds.

However this is the internet and people throw opinions around like police hand out tickets so at the end of this post, I’m going to speak my mind about the recent issues surrounding this protest. It’s my soap box, you can choose to not read or make your comments. Now, back to the photographic portion of this post…

Pissing off the Police Union is where he is.

Pissing off the Police Union is where he is.

As I stated earlier, I believe it is both your civic and artistic duty to participate as a viewer/observer/recorder of the important social issues that occur in your lifetime. I’m not saying you should go well out of your way, but if these occur locally, be there and f8. They are societal milestones, events, and gain the interest of the masses. They can often define the ascendant generation. Going to and placing oneself in the epicenter is a solemn privilege that you as a creative should encourage.

“The world is going to pieces, and people like Biderman and Hill are photographing stars.”

– David George Brommer, December 2014.

I have shot a few demonstrations in my day. The first was a NORML rally at William Patterson College in NJ in the latish 80’s. The next would have been great anti-Iraq war protest that took place in 2003 in NYC. I rolled through the Occupy movement when it was in full force. I heard about the #MillionsMarchNYC from local channels, and put aside the time to go shoot it. Having watched the other protests, mainly the Ferguson and the SF/Oakland ones, I was a bit wary of getting caught up in a mele. I would be simply a citizen armed with a camera, and my opposing force would have truncheons, shields and tear gas. In the back of my mind a spot fear appeared. We all know what fear is right? It’s the mind killer! Mostly I feared getting gassed. I had seen the nasty canisters bouncing up to a CNN crew and the journalists all getting a good hit of it in Ferguson. I dug out my Israeli issue adult gas mask size three and stuffed it into a WW2 vintage ammo sling bag. Plan for the worst, hope for the best, and if worse happened, I could keep my vision intact and the cameras clicking.

When protesting, protest in Patagonia. Oy.

When protesting, protest in Patagonia. Oy.

Noon: Inspect the camera arsenal for today’s shoot. I go for the Sony RX10 because I want a telephoto lens to pick out faces and signs a distance away (24 to 200mm f2.8). It’s also weather proof and resilient, so it can take it if the environment gets crazy. I also grabbed my trusty Fujifilm Xpro1 and slapped on the 18mm f2.0. I picked the Xpro1 because it can take a hit, and the look and size of the 18mm (1.5x APS-C size sensor brings it to 28mm effective) would both perform, and fit in my bag. Instead of a camera bag I choose a vintage ww2 ammo satchel, because I like the way it melts to my body and it’s discrete while having an edge. Note, the bag does have a Domke insert to further pad the gear. I also stuffed my gas mask and a fresh filter in the bottom of the satchel. In this game the best offense is a good defense.

Israeli issue M15 gas mask and cartridge. Sony RX10 digital camera. Fujifilm Xpro1 with 18mm f2 lens. US issue WW2 ammo pouch.

Israeli issue M15 gas mask and cartridge. Sony RX10 digital camera. Fujifilm Xpro1 with 18mm f2 lens. US issue WW2 ammo pouch.

2 pm I parked the Vespa on Bleecker and Sullivan. Twitter images showed the masses of protesters thronging beneath the Arch where 5th Avenue meets Washington Square Park. Enter from the rear, so you can get an idea of dispositions of the crowds.

As you neared Washington Square park there was a constant buzz of helicopters. The eye in the sky never looks the other way.

As you neared Washington Square park there was a constant buzz of helicopters. The eye in the sky never looks the other way.

I wanted to capture the faces and signs. I wanted to show the disparity of the protesters, and what they were saying. Simple task.

All Lives Matter.

All Lives Matter.

As I walked further into the epicenter around the fountain I found the wide settings on the camera were taking most of it in. Standing up on bench I was able to zoom into details. The Sony RX10 has swing a out LCD screen, I used my height and tilting out of the screen so I could turn myself into a 8 foot tripod in this fashion. That gave me a sweet perspective on the throngs.

Get that monument in so you can readily arm the viewer with an accurate location.

Get that monument in so you can readily arm the viewer with an accurate location.

There was not a police presence inside the protest throng, except Parks Dept (protecting the trees from being climbed) and this interesting Police Captain from Philadelphia. I do have a regret, I noticed one Parks Dept Officer with a tonfa strapped to his belt. Interesting, but I didn’t feel like getting my lens smashed by it so I didn’t shoot him. I regret that now.

A Police Captain from the City of Brotherly Love.

A Police Captain from the City of Brotherly Love.

The protesters, while mixed with all races, were predominantly white.

Pockets of protesters could broadcast stories.

Pockets of protesters could broadcast stories.

6 pm Time to edit and archive shot images. I shot as jpegs and imported into Nik Silver EFX through Photoshop. Since the subject matter was heavy, I felt that I would add drama and impact by choosing a heavy process. I went to the Film Noir Preset #1 and then decreased the size of the grain 40% while pushing up the structure. I also minimized the spread of the digi-faux rebate edge.

Brommer is now going to discuss his feeling on racism. It might be time to click here for lighter subject matter.

My personal take on the issue at hand is that it’s something that has been brewing in this country since the 1800’s. Racism. It’s not always fair and it’s not easy to understand. It may very well resound in all of us, deep down, hidden and can bubble up in certain circumstances. Others make decisions and judgments based on race with little provocation and thought. I see color and race, I am a photographer and my job is to see. However, I do not let race, nor social standing effect the way I interact with the population. So while acutely aware of racial details and stereotypes the factor is nullified until you give me a reason to respond from your deeds and words. After all, we are all human. And I’ll treat you like a lady or gentleman as long as you are one. That’s how I roll. I’m ashamed when a racist thought runs through my head. My first best friend was Lamont Swain, we played together on the streets and playgrounds. I was a skinny little white kid, and Lamont was a skinny little black kid. R.I.P. Mont Mont, your friendship showed me in the end, we were just skinny kids.

In a perfect world you don’t get taken down so hard you die for selling illegal cigarettes. In a perfect world when you steal and you get caught you don’t resist arrest. In a perfect world the cops don’t have the right to use violent force unless being met with violent force that is un-arguable. In a perfect world a segment of the society was not enslaved and then after generations set free. In a perfect world all the children are taught to respect one another and know right from wrong. In a perfect world no one would take advantage over another. In a perfect world… is just a dream. 

~David

Finding Photographic Style and Composition in NYC 4 Day Intensive Workshop April 17th to April 20th

Message Man in Chelsea

Finding Photographic Style and Composition in NYC  is a four day intensive workshop to develop your style and advance your composition skills with classroom sessions, assignments, museum and gallery visits, critiques, and guided photo walks in some of NYC’s iconic neighborhoods led by David Brommer. Photographers who are looking to perfect their skills and spend every waking moment in the city that never sleeps will be taking advantage of high level instruction and techniques with an emphasis on creating a body of work that will feature their own voice. Being exposed to new visual concepts and photographs from a series of visits to selected Chelsea galleries and two iconic photo collections at ICP and MoMA, students will ultimately build a solid portfolio of images.

chelsea

Classroom sessions: In this part of the program, David Brommer will deliver his two signature lectures “Finding Photographic Style” and “Composition Beyond the Rule of Thirds”  to give you the right tools to create a series of compelling images during your time in NYC. The classroom will serve as a home base, providing an environment for post processing and critique sessions, as well as working as an arena to discuss ideas and evaluate progress. The classroom sessions will be held at the photo department of New York Film Academy , a brand new facility in Battery Park  with state of the art classrooms with views of the Statue of Liberty and the port of NYC.

Photo Walks: The photo walks will explore iconic neighborhoods and landmarks including The Brooklyn Bridge, Lower Manhattan, Central Park, The West Village, Times Square and Grand Central Station. A live model will be available for one selected location photo shoot that will also feature a mini lighting workshop.

Gallery Visits: The neighborhood of Chelsea, with its more than 300 galleries, has the highest concentration of visual art per square foot on the entire planet. This experience will be a unique opportunity to visit key institutions and enjoy short gallery talks.  The itinerary will include Steven Kasher Gallery, Robert Mann Gallery, Bruce Silverstein Gallery and Clamp Art.

Final Party: The grand finale of the workshop will be the “Black & White” dinner, a party hosted by David Brommer and his wife Barbara. During the party the students will showcase their work and enjoy a “Black & White” menu of photography inspired gourmet dishes created by Barbara, (a chef and Bauhaus schooled artist).

Notes: This is an intensive workshop with lots of walking. It is not a basic class, it is intended for intermediate and advanced photographers. Class is strictly limited to 12 students. Be prepared to work hard, create dynamic photographs and grow as an artist.

Fee: The fee for the workshop is $699.00. Workshop is limited to a maximum of 12 students. The fee includes admission to ICP and MoMA and the final party.

Meals are not included, however we will be enjoying the vibrant NYC food scene.

Payments: A $200 dollar deposit is required to hold your reservation. The final balance is due March 31st. Students paying in full by March 1st receive a $50 discount for the workshop (for this option, please use the Early Bird Enrollment button to pay).

Chose your payment option from one of the three below:

 

Workshop Cancelled. Subscribe to this blog to find out when more will be offered.

 

The Workshop Reservation Deposit ($200.00) is NOT refundable. If you cancel before April 15th you will obtain the fee refund minus the deposit amount (i.e. Workshop cancellations are subject to a $200.00 fee).

If you wish to pay by check please email me directly for instructions and payment information.

Any students who wish to bring a Fujifilm X System camera will receive special love. However, any digital camera or iphone is recommended. While the Suspect does love film, it will be hard to add film to the critique sessions and receive instant feedback.

Any questions please feel free to email or ask in the comment field. Thank you and see you NYC soon.

libraryon6th

A Stroll Down Super Bowl Boulevard or How The Super Bowl Invaded NYC in 2014

Seattle Sea Hawk Fans rampage in NYC

Seattle Sea Hawk Fans rampage in NYC. Zeiss 12mm 2.8

Attention Suspect Photography Fans- Finding Photographic Style and Composition in NYC 4 Day Intensive Workshop April 17th to April 20th 2014. Early Registration Discount By March 1st. 

I’m not a jock. More of an anti-jock actually. So when the Super Bowl in 2014 invades my town I’m not excited. However there is no denying that it will have an impact on my city, and it’s my job as New York artist to document this occasion, especially when 7 blocks of Broadway is closed and turned into a Super Bowl conflagration. The Super Bowl is part sport, part commercial and all American. Broadway was transformed into a huge commercial sponsor fest for few days leading up to the big game. I figured I’d go and stroll down “Super Bowl Blvd” and see if I could find some images.

Helmets in Herald Square. Fujifilm 35 mm f1.4

Helmets in Herald Square. Fujifilm 35 mm f1.4

In case you wanted to see exactly where the sponsorship was street signs were modified. Fujifilm 35mm f1.4

In case you wanted to see exactly where the sponsorship was street signs were modified. Fujifilm 35mm f1.4

The morning of my plans to do this I posted on my Facebook my intentions and got into some lengthy discourses and what struck me the most, a number of my Facebook friends said they did the stroll and had trouble finding images. A challenge! The glove was down, can one fringe artists walk among massive commercialism and come back with a decent image or two? You be the judge.

Kids could be overwhelmed, I wonder if he will remember these days when he is grown up. Fujifilm 35mm f1.4

Kids could be overwhelmed, I wonder if he will remember these days when he is grown up. Fujifilm 35mm f1.4

It's New York after all, you have to one true fan of real NY in the mix. Long Live The Ramones!

It’s New York after all, you have to one true fan of real NY in the mix. Long Live The Ramones!

I chose to bring the Fujifilm Xpro1 with my three favorite lenses, the 12mm Zeiss, the 18mm F 2.0 (which I didn’t end up using) and the 35mm f1.4. I set the camera to B&W mode and shot away.

It's sports.. you have to have ESPN.

It’s sports.. you have to have ESPN. Fujifilm 35 mm f1.4

The crowds were daunting. Movement was a crawl. So many fans, so many New Yorkers. But we are used to crowds are we not? Zeiss 12mm f2.8

The crowds were daunting. Movement was a crawl. So many fans, so many New Yorkers. But we are used to crowds are we not? Zeiss 12mm f2.8

Later I opened everything up in Photoshop and burned the edges and did some cropping where needed. Pretty minimal, I was using the +/- exp comp due to some back lighting. I believe you getting it right in the camera and conducting minimal post process.

I don't know much about Football, but I think this position is called "The Tight End". Shot inside the NYgard store. They had models gogo sports dancing their tights. Fujifilm 35m f1.4

I don’t know much about Football, but I think this position is called “The Tight End”. Shot inside the NYgard store. They had models gogo sports dancing their tights. Fujifilm 35m f1.4

In the back of my head were the comments from the nay sayers saying they couldn’t find and image. Well it was crowded. Really crowded and I thought how the hell couldn’t you find an image in this crowd?

The Hulk and Bane showed up. After I shot them, they demanded a buck for the pose. I didn't want to piss them off, so I figured it would be best to cough up a buck before Hulk smashed. Zeiss 12mm f2.8

The Hulk and Bane showed up. After I shot them, they demanded a buck for the pose. I didn’t want to piss them off, so I figured it would be best to cough up a buck before Hulk smashed. Zeiss 12mm f2.8

I was looking forward to the Toboggan and how to shoot it. I settled on a slow shutter speed and “hail mary shot” holding still. The image was shot at 1/5th of a second at F16. The 1/5th gave me just enough blur to make it count for more than a snap shot. A tripod would have helped, but this is street shooting, no tripods allowed.

Slow shutter speed to give the subjects movement. Fujifilm 35mm f1.4

Slow shutter speed to give the subjects movement. Fujifilm 35mm f1.4

Yup, this is on Broadway. So weird, such a production.

Yup, this is on Broadway. So weird, such a production.

The lesson here is to just keep shooting and look for that image. I’m sure in 10 or 20 years looking back to when they brought a Super Bowl to NYC these images will age well.  So when its something out of the ordinary, grab your gear and shoot.

the fans, the football... the hashtag. It's 2014 all right.

the fans, the football… the hashtag. It’s 2014 all right.

~David

The Cucoloris Monster lives in Light and Shadow – Not Sesame Street :-)

Monster Garden, Bomarzo Italy. Fujifilm Xpro 1 35mm 1.4 1/320 f 2.8 iso 200 B&W film sim mode

Monster Garden, Bomarzo Italy. Fujifilm Xpro 1 35mm 1.4 1/320 f 2.8 iso 200 B&W film sim mode

 

When the light pours through trees it causes a dappling of highlights and shadows on the scene and can create an interesting effect. In the movie business the grip guys use gobos with patterns cut in them and hold them up between the light source and the scene. They also will move them, so in film it appears as if the wind is blowing the foliage. They call them Cucoloris, Kookaloris, or even cookies and are used frequently.

West Village NYC  Ricoh GR IV Digital 1/60th f 5.6 ISO 200

West Village NYC Ricoh GR IV Digital 1/60th f 5.6 ISO 200

In photography we really don’t use them often, even though the same technique the grip guys use could be set up in the studio easily. More often, we run into it when shooting beneath tree cover.  The “cucoloris effect” is best used to create a dance of positive and negative shadow in your image, integrate them into your composition. They can be tricky to expose properly, best to use standard metering and adjust as needed with exposure compensation.

9th avenue NYC Fire Truck Fujifilm Xpro 1 Zeiss Tuoit 12mm 1/250th F 6.3 ISO 200 Film Sim Mode B&W R

9th avenue NYC Fire Truck Fujifilm Xpro 1 Zeiss Tuoit 12mm 1/250th F 6.3 ISO 200 Film Sim Mode B&W R

 

As I researched this post I realized the phenomenon is not spoken of in photography much at all, but it plays such a large part of the relationship between light and shadow. Embrace the Cucoloris, seek it out and use it to build complexity to your images.

~David

 

Genre: Street Photography

Halloween revelers get cash at Citibank.

 

Everyday, Opportunistic, and Spontaneous

The most popular and widely practiced genre of photography is arguably Street Photography. Street photographers walk around with stealthy cameras ready to grab candid and un-posed images. It takes dedication to build up a body of work, and days and days of shooting can yield little in interesting images and then all of sudden, something with punctum pops into the frame.

 Puppets, Milan Italy. Fujifilm Xpro 1 18mm lens B&W film simulat

In the pantheon of photography, street photographers reign. Known as the father of street photography, Henri Cartier Bresson championed the concept of what he described as, “The Decisive Moment”. This can be summed up from Bresson’s own words, “There is a creative fraction of a second when you are taking a picture. Your eye must see a composition or an expression that life itself offers you, and you must know with intuition when to click the camera.” Bresson’s concept has aged quite well even considering that HD Video and super fast capture rates has fallen in favor even with the still photographers.

Icons

Perhaps Street Photography is so widely practiced because it is so readily available. Simply walk out of  any door with your camera ready to go and the world becomes your subject. Practicing street photography can be an exuberant way of displaying photographic style but it’s own ease can be its pitfall too. Photographers run the risk of becoming bored waiting for that “Bresson Moment” to occur and let their guards down and miss the potentially great shot. Street Photography captures fractions of seconds of our society in action and can serve in a documentarian role as well as just making a great photograph. The best street photos are when multiple stories are being told and the entire frame becomes a stage for life unfolding. It is spontaneous, and patience with a camera on a street corner will be rewarded with just the right subject, secondary subjects, and actions occurring with the background you chose.

 Coney Island

Another interesting facet of street photography is that it ages well. While a street filled with current cars becomes mundane, the same street filled with 55 Buicks and 57 Chevy’s all of sudden has a nostalgic boost. The same can be said with fashions and evolving cities in the frame, these images get more interesting with time. This is a reward for those who practice the genre of street photography during thier lifetimes.

Kid on the street. Hi Contrast B&W Ricoh GRD IV

Kid on the street. Hi Contrast B&W Ricoh GRD IV

Skills: Quick Reaction Time

Technique: Zone Focus or Pre Focus

Masters: Robert Frank : Vivian Cherry : Peter Turnley : Harvey Stein : Vivian Maier : Bresson (link above). Yes there are many more, this is broad genre however I picked these to start with for historical reference and also in the case of Peter and Harvey, they are still very active and teach workshops.

Gear: Leica M system, Fujifilm Xpro system, (super high quality and small discrete size) DLSR with fast aperture prime wide lens.

I’ll be honest here, I am challenged by street photography and while I practice it, always armed with a camera when out and about, I find my best work is when I can set the shot up and influence the image.  I respect street shooters and for those just looking to get into the genre, I recommend you look at the following photographers

The above is part of a format for presenting the genre’s of photography in my upcoming book, “Finding and Developing Photographic Style”. The idea is the common genre name, followed by three words that sum up the genre, then a moderately in-depth description with photographs to illustrate. As always, I’ll take any feedback.

~David

911 memorial lights and falls 2008
%d bloggers like this: