Tag Archives: artistic expression

Synergy of Photo and Music

Since the day I understood that taking photos is not something only American tourists in Germany do, but that it can, in fact, be an artistic expression, I have been able to appreciate a good photo.

I learned from the works of great photographers like Henri Catier-Bresson and studied whatever I could from resources like the Time Life Photography book series. During those old days, in order to have total control, you needed to spend time in the dark room – so I have this under my belt as well.

The latest photographer whom I added to my list of people to learn from, is Trey Ratcliff. He is a master of High-Dynamic-Range (HDR) photography. But one of the first thing he did for me was keeping me from finally buying a DSLR camera. Just when I was about ready I read his posts about mirror-less exchangeable lens cameras, and  now I don’t know if I should wait a bit until the field of those cameras gets a bit bigger. But I have to admit, right now the brand-new Rebel t4i is a bit tempting.

So, yes, his photos impressed me, but today they climbed another step on my appreciation- ladder when I watched them in form of a slide show with music by Hans Zimmer – somebody I never heard of before but who is apparently one of the big guys in the music business having done things like the sound track of the Lion King.

Here is that slide show, I would recommend switching to HD and watching it full screen…

The synergy is breath-taking: the music wins tremendously by the visuals and the imagery adds much to the sound-scape. It’s a hand-and-glove situation.

Creativity and Felicia Day

FeliciaDayWe all know that in order to create a successful web series you have to hire Felicia Day (of ‘The Guild’ fame) but today I found out that it is also advantageous to listen to her new video Blog Geek & Sundry.

She recommended a book “If You Want to Write” by Brenda Ueland and somehow that resonated with me. Thanks to Amazon and Kindle books I was in the possession of that book one click later. OK, it were a few clicks first to find the book on Amazon but after that it really was only one click and four bucks later that I could start reading this amazing book.

Try this:
“So remember these two things: you are talented, and you are original. Be sure of that. I say this because self-trust is one of the very most important things in writing…”

“This creative power and imagination is in everyone, and so is the need to express it, i.e., to share it with others. But what happens to it? It is very tender and sensitive, and it is usually drummed out of people early in life by criticism (so-called “helpful criticism” is often the worst kind), by teasing, jeering, rules, prissy teachers, critics, and all those unloving people who forget that the letter killeth and the spirit giveth life. Sometimes I think of life as a process where everybody is discouraging and taking everybody else down a peg or two.”

”…the only way to love a person is not, as the stereotyped Christian notion is, to coddle them and bring them soup when they are sick, but by listening to them and seeing and believing in the god, in the poet, in them. For by doing this, you keep the god and the poet alive and make it flourish.”

All this reminded me of a ‘decision’ made many, many years ago. During my last high school years I loved the natural sciences including math but also art. Physics was the strongest in terms of appreciation by others.

Now it was the custom that the local news paper (it was a smaller town in Germany) published a list of all the high school graduates with their intended carrier. I was really honest for a moment there and answered the survey’s question about my intended carrier with a simple ‘Artist.’

Unfortunately this honesty did not last that long because after summer and some brain storming I entered college with a major of physics. That was more more ‘realistic’ choice, one that would allow me to ‘make a living.’ Fortunately this field was also something I loved and it got even better when I was done with my masters because those were the days when the field of computer science really started up and needed contributors. There was no major of Computer Science yet, so mostly mathematicians and physicists started to bootstrap this field and I was happy to pitch in – probably partly because in those early days, writing software was more of a creative and artistic activity than an engineering one.

I am glad that the ‘pure’ art also remained in my life even though I had chosen a real money-making carrier as my daytime job. Photography became my medium of expression and somehow musicians were always in my life, sometime to the extent that I was the only ‘audience’ in a big group of musicians.

But I do want to do more writing and so Brenda Ueland’s book came just at the right time.

Thank you, Felicia, for bringing it to me!

Getting the Perspective Just Right

In the olden day of photography, you know – before Photoshop and digital cameras, you had to get it right the first time. Sure, you could go back and try again once you saw the result, about a week after getting back home, but there were times when that was just not feasible. It always was an exciting time when the envelope with the developed slides was in the mailbox.

Sometimes the excitement went away quickly, but more often than not it was then, the following evening, after all the mishaps had been sorted out and discarded, that the slide projector was set up, aimed at the silver screen and everybody gathered in the darkened room to relive the time a few, or at least one, weeks back.

Slides and the silver screen were the best means to watch pictures at that time, much less expensive than prints and a lot bigger. That is why slides had always been my medium of choice when I took photos as my artistic expression.

Slides and the silver screen went out after I moved to the US and it became very difficult to actually buy a slide projector. Slide projection was replaced by – really nothing. Until about now. Now I am using a 32 inch monitor which is located much closer to me than the silver screen had been, so the apparent size of images viewed on that monitor is comparable in size, maybe even bigger. Additionally this is an active light source – not reflective as the silver screen – so the luminance is much higher, and I don’t have to wait to the evening or darken the room.

So, yes, we have come around and caught up with the size of the slide show in the evening and surpassed it in convenience and speed. Now I can take the picture and view it pretty much right away.

Slide scanners have also given me the opportunity to view these old slides on the new display medium. I never had noticed the grain in the images when viewing the slides natively, but with some creative filtering we can reduce this shortcoming over the film emulsion.

On looking through some old slides taken in Paris, France in the Tuileries (the gardens surrounding the Louvre) I ran into one image that prompted me to write this post…

It’s one where, if I had the chance, would go back and take it at a slightly different angle so that the hand would be really exactly above the head of the statue. With a lot of Photoshop work I could probably fix it after the fact but I decided to leave it as it is and just enjoy the charm of “missing it by that much” (quote Maxwell Smart.)

As for some newer pictures that get it just right, here a little collection of photos that made it into my mailbox (thanks, Beverly!)