This photograph was shot from the stairs in the Rathaus Subway Station in Hamburg (Germany). On the up part of the photo we see the Rathaus Towers (City Hall tower) scratching towards the sky.
Here, again, the wide angle effect that widens the part of the stairs that is near us, creates a sensation of invitation to the stairs path into the image.
In the photo we find many lines crossing diagonally towards the center of the image where we find the tower: The stains handles and the side edge of the stairs, the top part of the construction of the stairs and the top part of the Rathaus building on the top left side of the image. They all work creating an imaginary line to our eyes working as a path to them, inviting our eyes to look back at the tower whenever we scan them over the picture.
I also like the mysterious feel of the scene, with the tower half hiding behind the building too, creating this curious sensation of desiring to climb the stairs in order to be able to see more of it. The contrast of light and shadows also helps with such mysterious feelings.
The scene also reminds me of the experience of dream effect. Which nothing is very clear and forms are confused.
It is interesting to think that our visual culture tends towards the pornographic visual; The visual that exposes everything in all its details. It is a visual aspect that has its attractiveness but it leaves no much room for the viewer's imagination and personal experience of the scene. This is the reason I tend to the classic visual language.
The pinhole photograph like this one (photograph shot with no lens), helps with such dreaming like effect because it naturally has a soft focus, for having no lens to make shapes highly defined.
This is a pinhole photograph (a photograph made without lens) of Hamburg City Hall and its fountain.
I like how the building stretches up towards the sky as if it is stretched above us, the viewer has a kind of ghostly like scenery.
The black and white image transmits a sense of past and coolness. Such coolness feeling is sensed through the building and expressed by its own antique architecture, as well as enhanced by the white snow and the contrast of the gray sky.
The stretched edges of the photo, created by the ultra wide angle image, has a dynamic feeling, as if we are approaching or distancing the building, or, as if the building is approaching us or distancing from us.
It is clear the contrast of beautiful colors is the catch of this photograph. The predominant blue color on the background matches well with the subject, the Coneflower, because the blue color, in our mind, refers to innocence, purity, cleanness, and natural, specially because it is cognitively associated to clean water and clean skies, as the one in the photo itself.
The petals pink colors also refers to innocence but in a more child and feminine sense. While the green color of the stalks symbolizes nature, or a purity from nature. Together in this photo these colors combine and confirm the symbolism inherent in them by each other. At the same time they contrast in tones enhancing each other.
There is another aspect in this image that makes it interesting. image point of view is from below the height of the subject. For our mind it is as if we are looking up at something above. Wherever is represented as being above our eyes or higher than us transmit the feeling of what the pictured subject can do to us, contrary to the opposite and common image of flowers photographed above them and which suggests what we can do to them.
Such perspective makes us feel powerless but at the same time makes us feel the subject powerful. It is especially noticeable when looking at large prints. Such visual message is also confirmed by the subject framed in the center of the image.
I took many photos exploring different angles and perspectives, because it gives me a good feeling of the power of nature.
Close ups have this power to make us feel more the presence of the subject, because we can see more of its details, especially when looking at large prints.
This is a single Pale Coneflower and like all flowers it is beautiful at its own. But a beautiful subject does not make a good photograph, contrary to popular belief. A good photograph has more to do with how the subject is composed, framed, the angle it is portrayed and other things which all carry meanings that we read consciously or unconsciously, based on our cognitive experiences.
A beautiful subject can make us forget it all about the photograph and appreciate the subject alone. To be honest, this is a very simple photograph which caught my attention because of the beauty of the flower alone. But as a photographer I don't look only at the subject but at the photo as a whole, because it is from it where we find the photographer's expression that carries their personality, identity and sometimes messages.
What I like in this photograph is the flower leaning to the left side of the image and because of its shape it suggests a imaginary diagonal line crossing its extremities in the right and left side. Diagonal lines feels harmonious and suggests dynamics, even if there is nothing happening it proposes that it is alive, symbolizing vigor.
The green leaves on the right side of the image point our attention back to the flower making it stand out to our eyes as the main object. The leaves are also elements that help to compensate for the flower leaning on the left side of the image, creating a harmonic visual balance.
This is the stairs to Rathaus subway station, just in front of Hamburg Rathaus (City Hall) in Germany. In the background you can see the city center architecture and its urbain feel.
The wide angle image creates a sensation effect that invites us, the viewer of the image down to the steps. This inviting feeling to its steps path is like inviting us to the scene itself. It also has this feeling of the image hugging us. I like this inviting feeling.
The black and white photographs have a cool feeling which is enhanced in this image by the traces of snow and on the ground as well as by the buildings' architecture.
Black and white photographs also give more focus on the texture of the buildings.
This is Lübeck Holstentor, the first medieval construction we face when entering in the old medieval town.
The wide angle creates this stretching effect which makes the building look powerful and asserting its presence in the image. The long exposure reinforces this visual effect with the "moving sky" (the movement of the clouds).
The long exposure is not an option, it is the only feature of the pinhole camera which this Holstentor was photographed, because pinhole cameras have no lens.
This dynamic visual effect by the wide angle and long exposure works here as if suggesting travelling in time.
Lübeck is officially known as the Hanseatic City of Lübeck, is a medieval city in Schleswig-Holstein, in north Germany, and one of the major ports of Germany, on the river Trave. It was the leading city of the Hanseatic League, and because of its extensive Brick Gothic architecture, it is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The old medieval town of Lübeck is on an island by the Trave river.
This is the garden with a fountain of the beautiful and well preserved Schwerin Castle in Germany
The wide angle photographs help to have a view of its totality. It is interesting to notice that the fountain in the lower part of the images is as if bending towards us out of the way of the garden in front of it. A visual sensation I enjoy very much.
In the background is the castle, distantant and calling our attention for its tower. Image as a whole has an interesting visual line created by the composition of the elements. On the top is the tower, then the castle below it, then the sidewalks and colunes on both sides of the image towards us. This creates a visual effect resembling a triangle, which turns the image visually interesting and harmonious in my opinion.
Schwerin is a city in Germany known for its palaces and beautiful architecture. It became an independent city in 1160 by Henry the Lion. It is the oldest city of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It is globally known for its romantic Schwerin Palace, situated on an island in Lake Schwerin. The palace was one of the main residences of the dukes and grand dukes of Mecklenburg until 1918 and is the official seat of the state parliament since 1990. The city also has a largely intact old town, thanks to only minor damage in World War II.
This photograph has a different texture I find difficult to describe. It is more noticeable in the blurred background, especially in the green tones. It is not quite the same but it reminds me of the feeling I normally get through my film photographs.
The reason for such a feeling is clear to me, is the rusticity aspect of it. We get such feelings most from colors and shape texture which is normally obtained through the silver salt grain in film photographs. This photograph is digitally made though, but a certain texture on the colors was obtained that gives some similar feeling of rusticity.
The rustic feeling is a feeling of tangibility, as if what we are looking at was handmade, like film negatives and silver salt grains that are tangible. This photo is not but it has the feeling to me.
I think the color temperature also helps with such feelings, the dark warm color of green, orange and pink. Also the contrast with the deep blacks. Such rustic feelings have the power to make us feel welcomed like at home, the place where we have the most intimate contact with objects.
It's ok when the average public criticises or doesn't understand some photographs' meaning, but it's strange when those who were supposed to be aware about photographs or visual language miss the aesthetic meaning of good representation on nude.
"Is nude necessary?" a photographer asked. "I think you can make a photo appealing without the model being naked" he said.
There are many kinds of nude photographs. Some are made to be sexually appealing and some are not. It is actually much easier to make a woman sexually appealing wearing accessories and clothes that help to extol their body features than represent them purely naked who can only rely on poses and their actual body shape to extol their body features.
Everything in a visual representation has a meaning. Through a dressed model you can tell, or at least have an idea, about the epoch, taste, age, culture, social class and even personality of the person photographed or of who the photographer is trying to represent, just by the clothes. The same with the make up, location and gestures.
When you want to concentrate only on the body form, texture and expression everything else becomes a noise, or a distraction. Even colours, in many circumstances give meanings and become distracting when you want to concentrate on shapes and texture. This is why black and white images are often necessary as well as nude images.
I don't mean that works focused on body expression and shapes have to be nude. There are many ways of trying to do it with appropriate clothes. But with clothes it will not be possible to represent and appreciate the full and natural body shape and texture.
It also doesn't mean it has to be a full body frontal nude, because the frontal nude are often a distraction too, depending on the level of appreciation, theme and the way it is represented. It will be a distraction for those who are not used to it.
In other words, not all nude or even frontal nude representation mean to be erotic or pornographic. We can also be sure that there are a lot of erotic and even pornographic suggesting images everywhere we look at in our daily life through advertises on TV, magazines and billboards that apparently sell services and products but after all they actually sell life style, which also include idealised sexual attraction and sexual power. Often it is too explicit to be true, so we accept it or just ignore it.
This photo of a Japanese Anemone has a kind of purity on it. It is a very simple image and I believe the best visual works are the ones that can provoke strong feelings or assert deep ideas through simplicity, with no distraction.
The white petals certainly help bring this idea of innocence which is intrinsic in the color symbology itself - reason why traditionally brides wear white. But the string sensation of visual purity is highlighted by two other main aspects of this photograph itself.
The first aspect is the fact that it presents a few elements to look at and, by that, I don't only mean the flower alone but also the color shades and textures. Our eyes don't have to travel much beyond the flower and for very long to have the complete picture formed on our mind. Nonetheless, the two elements behind the Anemone flower, together with the flower stalk, form lines that work as trails to our eyes pointing them to the center of the image, to the main subject, when our eyes go beyond it. These elements drag our attention back to the flower in a pleasing and natural way.
A second point in the blurred green background. The green color brings the feeling of nature to our mind which is also related to the symbolism of purity. The green color tones in the background vary from dark to bright but not strong enough to become a distraction, not forming shapes and lines distinct enough to interfere with the main elements. Around the flower is almost an empty space feeling but with this purity tone of green color that makes the subject enhance as a pure and innocent element.
This image is from a walk among Switzerland mountains, a couple of years before moving to sought Germany. This was one of the experiences that convinced me to move to Sough Germany, not only because the fast travel to Swiss Alps but specially because I wanted to have more contact with nature.
This photo don't cease to please my eyes and I believe it is not only because of the beautiful white mountain in it. The contrast among colors - the blue sky, the white snow as well as silver color of the mountain and the dark green three in the foreground - is defensively a big factor for the visual pleasure in the image. The green foreground contrasting with a completely different landscape in the background suggests there is something beyond to be reach that feels kind of alien to us - to where we find ourselves. It is this feeling of strangeness, beyond and not accessible [yet] that generates the feelings we call passion - The curiosity and desire to access of what feels alien/mysterious to us. I believe this contrast of landscape, which suggest where we are and a place beyond and completely different, provoke a kind of visual - and so corporeal - memory of the passion feeling.
An other aspect is in the composition of the elements and framing. The diagonal line crossing the image and dividing its foreground and background is visually very pleasing to me. Not only because it creates it is the delimitation of the two different landscapes but specially because it separates the right (tree) and left (mountains) elements in the image. In short, it help our eyes naturally descant through through the image, the tree, the foreground landscape, the mountains in the background, the sky and back again. Such kind of visual "travelling" is the pleasure we aim through the work of framing and composition; A pleasing visual exploration and experience.
I took this photo with film negative, which I prefer because it doesn't distract me from the visual experience and contemplation of what is in front of me; No screen in the camera to check how the photo look like. The manual camera makes me pay more attention to light, texture and colour shades in order to better capture the image.
A friend of mine told me this pink Garden Cosmos look very girly, telling me it is funny to think of me, a beard man, photographing such "feminine feeling" images. On the other hand, my psychology never had such strong gender division. I agree with her about this photograph looking girly, because of the delicate flower shape and pink color, but what kind of flower don't look feminine? As a man I like to contemplate the "feminine" world which normally is associated to charm, elegance and beauty. What makes this particular image look girly is the innocence feeling transmitted by the flowers and their pink and yellow colors.
Otto Rank wrote that we all have both feminine and masculine psychology with one being more strong than the other. Siri Hustvedt said that she sometimes dreams she is a man, mostly because as a writer she incorporate the male characters in her stories. She says that she is a woman but sometimes she is a men (when she dreams and writes). So I guess that sometimes I am a girl when I photograph, letting emerge my feminine psychology in my dreams and work.
This is a tower of a palace in Schwerin. One of the very few towns where the old German palaces and castles survived the wars. In this photo perceptive I combined four elements which makes the image stand out as harmonious and pleasing to my eyes. The main one is the the palace's tower which transmit a classic fairy tale feeling. Then the old bridge architecture that feels like matching and confirming the tower architecture and epoch, as if it is not the past that is being presented to us in our time but we who are travelling back in the past. Around it the nature, looking a bit wild, as if natural, transmitting the idea that the ambiance is not staged, is not purposely build to entretain people like a Disneyland, it is not a theme park with their perfect gardens and bushes, it is, instead, a real place around natural landscape with its real nature; A place with real long past history. The lamp post is the element that remind us that the scene is what is preserved from the part in a more modern time.
The contrast of colors has its charm as well, but the real pleasing visual feature that makes this photograph feel in touch with the past is the film negative grain and colors characteristic. It was photographed with real film negative around 2016 and I know that there are image editing programs that simulate the film negative look effect in digital made photographs, but believe, it is not the same. The film photographs, even the digitized ones we see in screen, has very different grain characteristics than the digital made photos. This difference is what makes film photographs transmit a feeling of more tangibility and craft. The digital made photos are beautiful and they have a quality of their own, but sometimes it feels too "electronic", specially when attempting to represent the past feeling and craft feeling.
This photograph is from a time I used to go around with my middle format Bronica camera to photograph Dublin and around Ireland; This time in Wicklow. I took this photo in 2012 and in it we one of the medieval Irish towers we sometimes find in the country landscape. When one looks closer they find out these tower don't have a door on the ground lever but, instead, the door is on the high top of the tower with no stairs to it. They were build like this in order to be accessible only with a high ladder brought to it, which monks in the medieval age would do to take whatever is of high valuer to hide in the tower during unsafe times like in wars and invasions.
One of the main characteristic of the image is its kind of stony scenery, not only because of the rocks in the river and landscape but also because it is complementary to the stone building back in the scene. It is like the scene is saying that the building is in its right place, where it belongs to, a rough old construction in a rough landscape.
A second interesting aspect of the photo is in how it is framed, with the river crossing the lower half of the image vreating a diagonal visual line in it. Such line creates two visual perceptions: The first in the invitation it offers to our eyes leading it from the foreground to the back ground of the scene where we find the main subject of the image. Of course we eventually would extend our look to the image background and back to the foreground, but such visual like helps making this vidual exploration of the image a more pleasing experience. On top of that, river streams always suggest a travel to its course.
The second visual perception aspect of the river is the feeling of dynamism; the water in movement. The photo is a long exposure which gives this smooth water shape in movement - although the main reason for the long exposure was the dark orange filter on the lens which I used to create a nicer contrast and texture.
Finally, there is also the the elements balance between the big stones in the foreground and the tower in the back ground. They are the two spots point which incite our eyes to travel forwards and backwards again. They both leans a little to the right side of the image, and it is the river stream line in its diagonal position pointing to the left that compensate the weigh of the two main image's objects leaning on the right side.
Many people think that I photographed this beautiful Spider flower in studio but it was actually photographed in a park near home, in the later summer of 2019.
I am not the kind of photographer who like to create the idealistic perfect image in image manipulation programs. The less time working in computer the more time I have to contemplate and photograph the world outdoor. So it was very luck to find this elegant flower looking so perfect. I have been looking around for this flower this year (2020) and I haven't found them as beautiful as the this one I photographed last year.
The dark background is an effect archived by using a small but powerful speed light; In short, everything that is lit by natural light is eliminated and only what is lit by the strobe light appears in the photo. The natural light exposure is controlled by the exposure time while the speed-light is controlled by the lens diaphragm aperture (light intensity). It means that the the powerful strobe light can be cached in the photo in its short exposure tume while the natural light can be eliminated because it is not strong enough to be registered in a such short exposure time.
What called my attention to this three Coneflower flowers in particular was the contrast of the dead flowers in the background. I like images that suggests the contrast between life and death, which remind us that life can be very beautiful but it is temporary and short. Have that in mind is maybe what makes us appreciate and contemplate life despite all its imperfections. Such conceptual contrast is accentuated with the technical contrast of the bright light and colors of the three alive and vivid flowers against the dark background.
I photographed this flower at the start of August of 2020. This year I decided to photograph with natural light in order to obtain a different effect than the photographs I have from last year. This photo was also shot with a longer lens in order to obtain a stronger blurred background - called as shallow DOF (Depth of Field) in the photography language. I made two photographs of these flowers with the same frame, so they look very similar, with the difference that this one the background is less blurred to show more the dead flowers in the back ground.
These two Fulvous Day Lily in the center of the photo feels powerful, as if asserting themselves in the scene. The reason for that is the combination of many visual aspects.
The first of these visual aspects is the centered subject. Normally, when the subject of a image appears in the center it suggest its presence affirmation and power. In the center of this photos we have two elements and both pointing in opposite direction of it other. Such composition characteristic visually indicates that they both have this asserting power independent of each other - reason why we see photos of bad-boys or bad-girls crossing their arms in the center of images giving their backs to each other.
An other point is the dynamism the composition creates; Because they are pointing each to opposite direction, from the center of the photo to its margins, it feels the subject is experiencing a wider visual field that we can't see, what we see is limited by the edge of the the photo. Even without seeing it, the feeling that there is a wider visual field being experienced by the subject of the image (no matter if such subject is just flowers or inanimate object) that is limited by the photograph edge, transmit the sensation that we are approaching the subject, or that the subject is the main attention around. Its presence is being strong asserted.
On top of that, which collaborate with the aspects mentioned above, there is the back ground leaves that despite blurred they form lines which feels as expanding from the center to the edges of the image, which I believe to be what gives a strong touch of dynamism feeling on photo.
When I decided to rely only on the natural sun light this summer (2020) for the flowers photographs I was a little bit apprehensive. It is because in the previous year I worked with strobe light and light modifiers for the better control of the light and shadow results. Relying on the natural light only means giving up such control and I wondered if it would be a big loss in my results, but it wasn't at all.
Without strobe light I switched to tele-lens in order to take more advantage of the shallow depth of field (DOF) - the blurred background - and enhance the main subjects.
Without mentioning the color and light contrast I feel the description above is what makes this photograph special.
I feel attracted to this three Japanese Anemone because the way they are distributed in the photo feels like there is a certain dynamism in it, as if they are moving like in a dance. I think what enhance the most this visual feeling is the background.
Intentionally or not, any element on images that form visual lines suggest trails that works unconsciously for our eyes, such trails, when well composed on the image, makes it more comfortable, and so pleasing, for our eyes to run and explore the elements of the image. After all our eyes are in constant movement scanning quickly all the details of the visual that we perceive as a whole in our mind. It is as if lines suggest and lead the direction of our eyes so it doesn't have to "jump" from one element to an other in a rough terrain.
The flowers stalk in this photo feel doing just that and it may be what they do in most photographs of flowers and plants; point the direction of the main element to our eyes. Here we have the three flowers distributed in the image and the many stalks point to the direction of them. Even the very blurred stalk on the left of the photo is doing such job pointing to our eyes the direction back to the flower on the bottom of the image.
The diagonal lines on images often suggest dynamism; that things are moving, that things are happening, and so they are alive. I guess the different direction crossing by the lines formed by the stalks is the reason it feels to me the flowers moving like a dance.
There are many other reasons to contemplate the photo, such as the color contrast and shapes textures, but I feel the description I gave above is what makes this photo in particular stands out.