Thursday, June 19, 2008

Self-Portraits

I've recently stumbled across the everyday project by Noah Kalina. Noah is a commercial photographer in Brooklyn, NY, USA. The project is a collection of 2356 self-portraits taken on successive days. With other words, 6 YEARS! He then compiled it into a video and has since been nominated for a YOUTUBE award, and received 9 and a half million views to date! I found the video oddly fascinating, intriguing and somehow disturbing. I think it is one of the best photo projects ever. The photography is secondary - turn the camera around and snap - but the idea and the sheer dedication to the project is inspiring. Check this out. Video below.

Shortly after I was asked to shoot some self-portraits for a contributors page for Food&Home Entertaining Magazine (story on Albert Roux at Armajaro/Vondeling Estates - check August 08 issue).

Well, I've always had pics of myself on shoots where I did light-tests, like my blog header, but I seldom shoot myself. (Strobists and technophiles - I use a generic Cactus remote to my 5D. You can use the Canon one, but the difference is about R2k, although the Cactus does fail now and again! Check my bag for details).

I had about 10 minutes so I set up a single flash from almost 80 deg overhead (a Electra 750W) with a dog-bowl (bare bulb reflector), hence the hard shadows. I don't like to come across as someone who comes across as too serious about myself, so I just used a couple of my everyday (no pun intended) expressions. Hence I came up with the piccies below. I used channel mixer with red channel at 100% and some selective masking and blurring to create the rail-camera movement effect on one.

Anyways, drop your comments. Would like to hear what you think of shooting yourself.

Ps - yes, I did feel like an idiot making faces at my camera all alone in my studio.

PPS- as much as I appreciate you emailing me your comments, rather post them on the 0 comments below, or open the post in a new window and drop them in the comment box, because I'd like others to see your valuable input. 

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Kick-Butt Photo Studio Set-Up

I'm in the midst of rearranging my workflow, studio, set-up, work-life, philosophies on work-flow and systems, equipment, financial systems etc etc.

I put off to appoint a studio assistant for 8 years, well, now I'll have one. My digital workflow, and especially archiving is undergoing a facelift. My studio is always being worked on, but last month it received its long awaited black walls and ceilings. My equipment is always being updated with little gadgets being added almost weekly. This month alone - new laptop (I highly recommend the guy I bought it from, follow link), boom stand, ThinkTankPhoto bag, servicing of equipment etc. Also, I'm upgrading my insurance, which will double my premiums per month, but I can't risk being without equipment. That however is only for my most essentials. 1.5% per month of replacement value on equipment can amount to 1000's per month.

What is my aim? More professional, more excellent, more reliable, and a little more space to breathe amidst all the clutter. I've been fortunate to be blessed with loads of work, but if not well handled, this can be the downfall of quality, consistency and reliability. Before that happens, I decided that I need to look at long-term adjustments.

Also, I need to look after myself. I'm still the company's biggest and most important asset, and a happy me will mean a more productive, excellent me, and by default, service to you. Physically speaking, I started Judo-classes with a friend (he's Jujitsu trained, I did Chinese Kung-Fu for a long time) to get me fit, I'm making more time with family and ministry (God is and always will be my #1 priority and source of strength) and I'm going to the chiropractor next month. After 9 years (1 year for another photographer and 8 years for myself) of lugging around equipment in crates and bags that are not designed for skeletal stability, I'm in discomfort most of the time.

So what is all this to you? Well, look out for even better service, better quality and a better experience. I've drawn a lot of inspiration from the following photographer in the US and France and his set-up and work ethic. Check out Chase Jarvis.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Bragging

I'm the first one to admit that you cannot live life by others' opinions of you, but unfortunately in business, your clients' opinion of your service will determine its success.

Have a look at what some of my clients have had to say on my LinkedIn profile.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Position filled!

I appointed an assistant! Congratulations to Jeremy Puren who will be working with me from 1 July 2008. Jeremy is a BA Arts major with a solo exhibition under his belt already. More on the new addition once he is here. Other applicants: feel free to leave your details on the comments (click on 0/1/3/comments) page for others to grab your details.