So now what?

My time in university is nearly over and I’m looking with hope into the future.

In the past year, I’ve worked hard on building up my professional portfolio, experience, and connections. I’ve taken on more projects than I could count, some featured on this blog and some not, some that I felt more confident in than others, but overall it’s all been a learning experience and one that will help shape my business in the future.

After university I intend to work as self employed in photography, continuing my focus on fashion and commercial photography, and also branching out more to events. I also hope to continue using the connections I’ve previously made with the fashion department, and more recently the music department to whom I have just provided some photography work, and build more working relations for the future.

I’m also hoping to start producing stock photography work that I could use as an ongoing project that I continuously add to as a self-driven way to produce cash flow to sustain my business.

I do have a part time job I’m planning to continue working in after I finish university to also help sustain me until my business grows enough for me to be able to work in it full time.

Finishing university is a very big and terrifying step, now is the time I am truly stepping out into the world, but I am confident in the business I am starting to build, in the relationships I’ve created in these past three years, that this is a new beginning and I am excited to see what the future holds.

Advertisements

Catalog statment

My chosen catalog image is this:

YamKovatch

And this is the statement that follows:

Wonder

by Yam Kovatch

 

‘What may I do?’ at length I cried

Tired of this painful task

The fairy quietly replied,

and said ‘you must not ask’

from My Fairy by Lewis Carroll

 

My project was inspired Lewis Caroll’s Alice in Wonderland and his poetry surrounding the story including My Fairy. The project contrasts the two sides of the tale: the beauty and purity against the madness and surrealism, then link it to different approaches to fashion photography.

 

I collaborated with a fashion design student who has also drawn inspiration from the same story, and together we have created two different sets of images titled Wonderland Pt.2 and Wonderland Pt.3. The project seeks to take inspiration from both the beauty and the madness of the story and showcase two different aspects of fashion photography, one commercial based and one fine art based.

 

My inspiration for the project comes from fashion magazines such as Dazed and Confused, I-D and Vogue, photographers such as Rankin and Inez & Vinoodh, and fashion designers the likes of Alexander McQueen and Valentino. I am interested in the three-way collaboration between magazine, photographer and fashion designer and how this impacts on the final look of the image.

University- Second year review

The end of my second year in the University of Chester is near and I feel that this is the time to recap it all.

This year I had 3 different modules that each faced a different challenge. I had a collaborative module where I had to produce group exhibitions for, a commercial module that was around creating imagery fit for editorials and mainly “the real world”, and I had one module that focused more on the fine art side of photography.

In this year I had my first taste of collaborating with other artists (which faced a challenge of it’s own regardless of the theme of the photos), how to create photos that are commercially effective, and most importantly I had my first try in medium format shooting and developing my own film.

The medium format and developing was by far my favourite thing I’ve learnt this year, I love the effect it gives no matter how you use it, in the studio or outside of it. I love developing my own film and getting to see first hand my photos coming out.

This year was a challenge for me, whilst last year I was inspired and confidant with my photography, this year not so much. I was struggling coming up with new ideas for projects in every new assignment. The feeling of being creatively drained which is something that happened last year as well, came a lot sooner this year. As this year finishes sooner because we are off to work placement after the Easter break, everything was a lot more fast paced.

I am happy with several pieces of my work I’ve produced this year and feel that I have grown as an artist, but may have just lost my confidence a bit along the way.

My greatest achievement this year by far is getting positive feedback from one of my favourite tutors Tom Wood regarding a personal project I took on for my assignment by photographing my home country of Israel.

Next year is the big one, we have one big project to take on throughout the year. I will make sure to make the most of it and create something I will be proud of.

Until then I leave you with selected pieces of my favourite work I’ve done this year.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Legal and Image Requirements

In order to submit my work into iStock it needs to hold in several different requirements:

Image Format and Size:

All of my images are in RGB JPG files, they are also all larger than 1600 x 1200 pixels (5184 x 3456), which fits the criteria set by iStock.

When taking the images I’ve made sure to stick to the lowest ISO I could in order to avoid noise in the images and keep them as sharp as possible. As mentioned in the previous post, I’ve kept all editing and image manipulation to the bare minimum as Getty and iStock have clarified they do not approve photographs that have been heavily edited.

Legal:

For all of the images taken I’ve obtained model release forms from the models, including the images not used in the end.

(phone numbers and addresses covered to protect privacy) 

I made sure that all of the images fit with the Getty images and iStock legal guidelines, making sure the images do not have any nudity or offensive symbolism on them, I also made sure to avoid any branding, both of different companies and also did not add any watermarks of my own. As the images were made in my own house I did not need a property release.

Getty Images and iStock needs:

My photographs fit the need of Concepts and Visual Metaphors. iStock describe it as: “Go beyond the literal, and help a designer explain something in a new way.” Which is the direction I was going for because as I’ve mentioned before, although I imagined them as a perfume campaign, they could be used for much more and I would be happy for them to be used for any concept a viewer might attribute to them.

Title, Description, and Keywords:

I will title all of the images in a simple way that is relevant to the images such as:

“Woman in Water With Roses Looking Up” 

summer-low-res-3

“Woman in Water With Leaves Closed Eyes”

autumn-low-res-3

My titles will all be in the same format as per request by iStock.

My descriptions will be:

“A women in a bath tub with flowers/leaves around her. Photographs taken with a Canon 7D/60D in a colour format.”

My keywords will include:

woman, women, flowers/leaves autumn/spring, summer/winter,  water, bubbles, woman only, one person, bath, bathtub.

The keyword of the season will change based on the image of course.

All of these keywords will help my images be found more easily by users and thus be more likely to be purchased.

Final Images

After deciding to focus on the bath images I needed a theme to run through them. I have chosen to have 3 themes within those photos, these themes are meant to work as 3 different collections:

A winter collection.

A spring-summer collection

A autumn collection

Winter:

For the winter collection I decided to use a couple of the more successful images from the original test shoot:

I felt that the blue filter gave the images a good feel to them. It made them quite cool, which is exactly the feel I want the viewer to experience when looking at the images. Winter scents tend to be quite clean and cool scents, as opposed to the warming scents of autumn or the fresh scents of spring and summer.

I haven’t done much editing to these images as the filter gave most of the impact. I have changed the curves a bit to get it to the correct exposure as it was challenging to get even with the flash and reflector however I didn’t have to use is much. I also cleaned up the image a bit from spots and mess on the model as some of the make up smeared as she was going in the water.

Based on this shoot I’ve decided to have the models wear a strapless top as I felt in this shoot that the shirt she was wearing was quite distracting, I have chosen images for this collection that didn’t show the shirt as much however I preferred that for the next shoots it won’t be a factor.

Spring/Summer:

For the next couple of collections I did not use any filter. I chose different flowers for this one, I searched for the most vibrant colours I could find. The scents of spring and summer tend to be very fresh and floral and this is what I was attempting to show in the images. I chose roses and I’ve picked the most closed ones I could find as these won’t have any petals detaching from them. I also tried not to over crowd the tub in order to keep the water quite clean to fit with the freshness of the spring-summer time.

In the editing I enhanced each flower’s vibrance slightly individually, removed spots from the model’s face and dirt from the water, and again used curves to correct any problems with exposer I might have, however in this shoot as well as in the autumn shoot there was less to correct as I managed to get the exposure better this time, based on what I had learnt in the test shoot.

Autumn:

For the autumn collection I decided to use some leaves as well as flowers. I picked some autumn leaves up as well as used flowers with more autumnal colours, focusing on yellows, reds, and oranges, to match the falling leaves. I did not want as many bubbles done with these images because I wanted the flowers and leaves to speak for themselves. I also did not mind crowding the tub as I wanted to have a feel of a street during the autumn time, leaves fall everywhere and it is quite crowded and messy.

img_4376
(Research image for the autumn collection) 

For the editing I again fixed exposure with curves, and removed any spots or dirt. For these images I also used colour balance to give the images a slightly warmer tone, as many people see autumn as a “cosy” season, and that is the feeling I wanted the images to transmit.

All of the images are meant to work with a text layout that the potential companies could use if needed.

example-text

I feel that my images could be commercially successful as they are versatile and also my idea for them was to work as perfume adverts, they could be used for much more such as for flower ads, skin care, or even just on their own as a decorative purposed photo.

Perfume Adverts and Surreality

Perfume adverts tend to work with a surreality quite often. Many adverts focus on how the perfume would make you feel as opposed to what the product actually is. I would assume that the reason they chose this path is because scent is very difficult to describe, as opposed to clothes and make up that are visual, scent is very hard to explain and is very individual as well.

There 2 ways to advertise perfume that are the most popular.

The first method is to show how the perfume would make you feel, the person it could turn you into, powerful, sexy, wanted, and more. A good example of this is in the advert of OLYMPÉA by Paco Rabanne. In the advert it shows a women that appears as a goddess walking around in her kingdom. She is powerful and strong and seems like she controls the place. Paco Rabanne are trying to convey in the commercial that if you use their perfume you would feel like a goddess as well. The advert can be watched HERE

The second method is to use physical objects to give the viewer an immersion like experience of what the perfume would smell like, however these are often also quite vague as I’ve said before, describing scents is pretty challenging. The companies often use a sensation of scent more so than the actually smell itself. They would use water to convey freshness, and flowers, trees and so on.

The images I wanted to create were meant to convey the scent of perfume rather than a feeling it could give the user.

 

 

 

Flowers-First ideas and test shoots

My theme for this project is flowers. I’ve decided to go with this theme after looking at Alma Haser’s work. I was inspired by her use of flowers in her photography to create something of my own.

After a group member for a collaborative project I am a part of sent me a photo of a women in a bath tub I was further inspired to use that as well in my images as I felt this could be done to appear quite surreal if done correctly.

afebd1757df50dcfd4ba5daf43f06374
“Agua caliente” – Coco Rocha by Sofia Sanchez & Mauro Mongiello for Numero #94 June/July 2008

I decided for my images to draw inspiration from Jonathan Knowels as well and play around with the distortion the water creates when having a person behind or underneath it.

The first test shoot was done on the 25th of October.

In that photo shoot I had a blue filter on my camera lens to give the photos a colder feel to them.

I took some photographs with the model’s head out of the water then some with her in the water as well. I have asked her to try and blow bubbles in the water through her nose in order to get the water to move and distort the image.

The lighting was a bit tricky with this one as the photos had to be taken in the bath tub that is in my house and the lighting in it is quite poor. To contradict that I used a flash and a reflector. The flash worked nicely however I felt the reflector was redundant as the walls in the room are white and bare so I’ve decided that for the next shoot I would not use a reflector and just bounce the light from the flash off the walls in the room.

I decided I wanted to have these images to work with immersion. I drew inspiration from the 5 Gum adverts where they show the feeling of chewing the gum. Some of the ads show walking into a icy room after having a mint gum, some show being dropped into fruits. The idea behind their adverts is the immersion the viewer will experience after chewing the gum and enticing them to try their product in order to experience the same sensation. The advert can be watched HERE.

I decided the sensation I wanted to convey is scent. My ideas was that these photographs could be used for (however not be exclusive to) perfume commercials. I wanted the immersion in the image to come from the idea of scent.

I’ve also done one more shoot trying this idea out outside of a bath tub just to see how it could work. I had a model sit inside a field of flowers in order to have the immersion of the scent.

low-res-tom

After reading the Getty images trend forecast I decided to do another shoot with the theme of flowers however unrelated to the idea of a perfume advert. I wanted to have the flowers as a metaphor to the inner world that can be found on the internet. My idea was having look into screens and have the internet “pouring out” of the devices, in the form of flowers.

I made sure to remove any logos from the products being used so it would match the Getty Images and iStock guidelines.

 

In the end I’ve decided to stick with the idea of the flowers in the bath tub as I felt those images were the most commercially successful.

 

 

Applying to become a Getty and iStock contributor

I’ve started my application to Getty and iStock quite early on, however the process takes a bit longer than I originally thought.

7/10/16:

The first pit stop in my journey to becoming a contributor started with registering my interest to become a Getty and iStock on their Work With Us platform.

screen-shot-2016-10-07-at-11-07-35-am

I had to submit 3 images that I was considering uploading to the website as well as some contact details.

5/11/16

A few weeks have gone when I received an email inviting me to sign up to become a contributor.

This process was a bit more complex. Firstly I had to sign up to the site itself and also submit a scan of a photo ID.

I later had to apply again 3 images for iStock to review. Those images had to comply with the guidelines of the website. Before applying the 3 images I had to read the guidelines and regulations for uploading photographs to the website. These included copyright laws, inappropriate content, resolution of the images and more.

Once I’ve read all of the guidelines and regulations I had to complete a short quiz. Once I’ve passed that some more regulations needed to be read.

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-39-04-pm

After that I was ready to submit my 3 images. and once that was done, I waited for a response on whether or not I was accepted to be a contributor of iStock by Getty Images.

screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-4-46-12-pm

8/11/16:

A response came in shortly saying I have been accepted into the iStock community!

screen-shot-2016-11-08-at-4-29-07-pm

All these steps were in preparation of uploading my images into iStock once this project is done.

Surreality on Getty Images

After looking into the Getty Images Visual Trend Forecast and researching Kenzo, I started my research by simply typing Surreality onto Getty images. I looked at the work already available on the website and what is expected from the photographs uploaded to the site.

I noticed that photographers tend to stick to one theme when working on a project, rather then upload many photographs that are completely different.

The first photographer I took interest in is Jonathan Knowels:

In his photographs Knowles seems to focus on the distortion water creates when placing objects behind it. By placing the models simply behind wine glasses filled with water he creates an illusion that makes the images so surreal.

In the same way Kenzo took a very simple and straightforward approach to Surrealism, Knowles took a very easy concept and made it something more interesting than it originally is. The reason I think these image are so successful is the simplicity of them, that little touch that makes the whole image change the way you view it.

Knowles also sticks to a theme as previously mentioned, the distortion with water is his general concept and he uses it in different ways however the photos can be easily identifiable as his work if seen on a bigger screen filled with works of many different photographers.

The second photographer that caught my eye was Alma Haser.

Haser uses her background in fine art to add a surreal twist to her photographs. She adds small touches to the images, such as painted on tears, or cut outs from the image where she adds in paintings of flowers.

The photos themselves tend to have pretty dull colours, mainly whites, blacks and greys, and when colour is introduced such as in the shirt of the man in the photo above, it’s usually pastel shades. Haser introduces colour into her images with the paintings she adds in, this gives the photos an interesting contrast and makes the viewer’s eye more attracted to the image, as our minds tend to gravitate towards the different and one of the things that tend to stand out the most are images with a high level of contrasting colours.

Haser’s images are as well, quite simple and aren’t going to the extreme of building a whole new world within her images, just to twist the reality around her slightly and that gives the images a fresh twist.

The theme Haser has with her images is the addition of the paintings. Her images can be very easily identifiable as her own work.

Another thing both Knowles and Haser have in common is the quality of the images. A common approach when referring to surrealism and surreality, art based photographers might go into possibly having the photos over or under exposed to fit with the theme of the image, or possibly distort it quite a bit, however as these images are on Getty and must be of a certain level of production the exposure of the images and general picture quality are at a very high level. They are sharp, exposed correctly, have lively colours (when applied), which makes them perfect for high resolution printings and publishing.

 

 

Kenzo

Kenzo is a clothing brand founded in 1970. This brand’s clothes are known to be playful and different, by experimenting with different colours, shapes, and patterns.

Their campaigns tend to match the joyfulness of the product itself. Back in 2013 they presented a very out of the box campaign for their autumn-winter collection with the directions of the creative team in TOILETPAPER magazine, which has been known to have creative and surreal looking images.

In Kenzo’s 2013 campaign it shows images taking the familiar into unfamiliar territories. Some of the photos include a tiger dog, people with their eyes replaced with drawn on eyes (as well as with eye all over their faces) and more. (Source)

This approach to surrealism is a a more subtle one, some images of surrealism would create a whole new world for the image, a completely different universe to ours, this approach on the other hand works with the idea of the uncanny, although they have got some photos in the campaign that do represent what appears to be different worlds, with people riding a giant hand across the sky, or people being preserved like tiny insects, it is still a very subtle way of presenting the idea of different worlds.

I feel that this campaign is successful for those exact reasons. The images are interesting to look at because they make the viewer un sure of what they are seeing. A good example of that is the tiger dog image. The image itself is quite simple, however because of the simple change of the colour of the dog’s fur it becomes foreign to our conscious.

Since this campaign Kenzo have continued to let the trend of surrealism inspire their work. Most recently they have teamed up with H&M for a new collection. The images were shot by the iconic photographer Jean-Paul Goude. Their new collection continues to break the bounders of fashion as well as of photography.

kenzoxhm

The images play with structure, of the human body, of a piece of clothing, of the frame itself. The images are shown side-by-side with a gif of an animated version of the model moving around, those movements are then translated into the image and the way that it is pieced together:

This again is a subtle way to inject the real world with a bit of surreality, which is to me what makes it so appealing.

You can find the KENZO x H&M collecting HERE