Christopher Wahl’s work on the fitness regimes of the Chinese is pretty fun.
Christopher Wahl’s work on the fitness regimes of the Chinese is pretty fun.
I’m loving Scott Brauer’s We Chinese project.
Take a look at Jessica Dimmock’s new feature film, Without.
I guess I’m not done talking about pregnancy and baby photography just yet. Because I got an excellent tip from Gustaf Ericksson in yesterday’s comments about the flickr group La Familia Abrazada, and low and behold I found some gems in there. Most notable was Pierluigi Riccio and his 2+1 Project.
These are lovely and clever and completely non-cloying. Which as we know, is very hard to do with this topic. Bravo!
See more from Pierluigi Riccio,
Sorry for my absence. I was off having a kid. Which hurt.
Now that pregnancy has finally ended, I’m embarking on the photographing-my-son-too-much journey. I purchased a Canon EOS-3 on Ebay so that my clichéd efforts can at least be memorialized on film. $150 for one of those things, and you can develop at CVS! What’s not to like?
Looking back, this is the only pregnant shot that did anything for me:
Pregnancy and baby pictures can go very wrong. Perhaps its the hormones which lead to very bad decisions.
Once the baby in the mirror becomes a reality, you have to choose how to memorialize it.
Turns out I like hipstamatic enough to use it for my major life moment. I wonder how this will read in the album in ten years.
I have no decent shots of myself looking maternal, but I did get a nice shot of a swell friend being a mother to my child. She looks much more pulled together than I did.
My favorite baby picture in recent memory is Torbjorn Rodland‘s. I had to pull three Blindspots down off the shelf to recall this image.
But he’s blonde and Nordic and perfect, so it was worth it.
Rodland also has a grasp on the finer points of motherhood. Do you think she really just had a baby? I doubt it. And that looks like a painful latch.
I will try my best not to bother you too much further with child imagery.
Chris Leaman is the staff photographer for Washingtonian Magazine, and recently was able to shoot Congress’s freshman class for the magazine. The results are amazing and somewhat hilarious, as many of these freshmen are political newbies and not particularly guarded (or for that matter, groomed).
We chatted with Chris about his process and background:
So the assignment was pretty straightforward – we knew a bunch of the incoming congressmen were going to be attending a conference at Harvard’s Kennedy School on Nov 30th and Dec 1st, and we hoped to shoot as many single portraits of them as possible. For inspiration, I loosely looked to Avedon’s Portraits of Power and Nadav Kandar’s Obama’s People. The plan was pretty loose – set up in one location and grab folks to shoot as they had coffee breaks between sessions. The members were all told on Nov 30th that we’d be there shooting the next day, but otherwise we had no idea what to expect (didn’t know if people would be into having their photo shot or not – we half expected to come away with nothing).
What we got was pretty amazing. Since the conference was fairly casual we got a good variety of looks from each of the subjects (not just blue suits and red ties). And as a result of the whole tea-party situation, many of the congressmen had no previous political experience, and thus were not guarded or at all concerned about their appearance. Most of the folks we shot had never had a proper portrait made of them. The result, at least in my completely biased opinion, was that we were able to get some pretty candid, honest moments out of folks who will, if their careers continue, become increasingly difficult to access in that manner.
As for technical stuff, I wanted a pretty even light that would work on a number of different types of clothing and skin color. I ended up using just one light – a Profoto head/7A into that huge Elinchrome octabank. I had the light coming straight on at the subject, basically a little above eye level. I shot the whole thing on a Canon 5DII, using the 50mm 1.2 and the 24-70 2.8. That’s basically it – I’m into super simple set ups.
As for me, I’ve been on staff here at Washingtonian for 2+ years now. This job was a total career change for me – before here, I was working at the State Department doing really boring/confusing/classified things. However, my father is a photographer, so I grew up shooting and surrounded by photography and kept it up through college. 3 or 4 years ago I got my first digital camera and learned how to make a digital photograph. My wife is a writer at Washingtonian and clued me on to their photography internship, so I quit the State Department and have been here ever since. And since, I’ve felt like the luckiest person in the world. Being on staff is great, because you have a constant stream of work and all types of different work – its been a great way for me to learn how to be a photographer. One minute I’m shooting food for the website, the next I’m stumbling my way through a fashion story, and then I’m in Boston shooting congressmen. It really has been a great way for me to gain experience in super fast forward.
Here are some favorites:
See more from the shoot, here.
See more from Chris Leaman.
See more of the Washingtonian.
The internets are all abuzz with the discovery of the great unknown street photographer Vivian Maier. What do you think?
Manjari Sharma has had a great year. A breakout star with her highly lauded and publicized Shower Series, she’s been shooting commercially, working on a new project, and is now having a solo show at Kopeikin Gallery.
It doesn’t hurt that Sharma is just plain fun to be around. I asked her some questions about her recent whirlwind ride, and she happily obliged me. Enjoy!
Tell me a bit about your Water work (that combines two series) on show at Kopeikin. What has drawn you to water as a subject, and how did these two projects take shape?
The Water Series, which is a project with the large open waterscapes that took shape in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil was made on an inspired evening when I was looking onto a private beach from the 17th floor.
The Shower Series was unknowingly a social study of sorts. A study of what water and intimacy can bring one to become. I’ve always been interested in the human mind and coming from the city I do, (Mumbai) there’s always one more person to talk to, one more question ask and one more thing to learn.
So while the two projects had water in common, they felt quite unrelated to me and happened at different times of the year. At first the whole “Water” themed year felt quite coincidental.
In retrospect however the one place in the world where where I feel reflective and sincerely alone with my thoughts is in the shower. Also as someone who cannot swim, looking at other people’s relationship to a large, ominous and overwhelming body of water is in a way an expression of my own awe. What I’m saying is, with both these projects I learned more than ever that, your most successful images will ultimately be really honest self portraits. That statement gets truer for me every time I make an image I’m happy with.
You’ve had quite a breakout year! Many folks struggle to promote themselves, even when they have strong projects– how have you worked to spread the word about your work?
Honestly I put the projects out there in the world with no expectations. I think sharing your work with the right sources though is just as important as making the work. I do think I have arrived at a formula that works with my personality. When I’m making the work it’s best for me to stay focused on creating the images, getting lost in your concept and just shooting. When I surface from shooting I concentrate on stepping away from it, getting critiques, respected opinions and editing. Once I feel ready to share it I contact the channels I feel would be the best fit/ platform for the work. I think that has worked well for me for the last couple of projects since thinking about promoting it clutters your thought process often, it’s best to exclusively create and not think about anything else but what you what to shoot.
The last year though, has been a gracious one. I know that and am very thankful for it. Apart from working hard which there is no excuse for, I attribute that to luck and well wishers too. Having a fantastic family and a supportive better half doesn’t hurt either, but there’s miles to go before I sleep.
What is the new work you are starting now? Can you share a favorite image or two?
I am shooting a project in India I would rather keep a secret at this point but I also just completed a new series I have shared on my website called Anastasia.
The project in a nutshell is about the queer friendship between glamor and solitude.
How did you get started as an artist– did you go the MFA route, or follow your own path? What would be some advice you’d give to someone just starting out?
I have a double bachelors, one in visual communications and a BFA in photo. But I really don’t think there is a method to the best approach madness. My advice would be shoot, shoot shoot! Nothing can teach us more than our own images.
Do you also shoot commercial and editorial work? Can you share some tears?
I do. I have an upcoming shoot for Vogue in India here in a couple of days that I am quite excited about. Also here are a few recent tears.
MANJARI SHARMA – WATER
January 8 – February 12, 2011
Closing reception, February 12th.
2766 La Cienega Blvd (just north of Washington)
Los Angeles, California 90034
Our hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 – 5:00