Having finally managed to process some of the urban ballet images from my recent shoot with the dancer Kayleigh Lush .
I thought it was worth sharing a few of them in my blog.
The idea of the project was to shoot a set of ballet themed images in a urban setting.
First of all I needed a good location, which also needed to be fairly local to me.
That choice of location was Saltaire, which is near Shipley and very local to me.
Because I have been there a number of times I knew that it had some really good locations which we could to shoot ballet against.
Another requirement was a trained ballet dancer, so I contacted Kayleigh Lush.
Now having worked with Kayleigh before , I knew she was capable of producing good ballet poses. Which is what I wanted for this project.
Kayleigh is a trained dancer and works really hard to produce great images, especially dance. So was the ideal choice for this project.
As I mentioned above the choice of location was Saltaire, near Shipley which is a world heritage site and has some interesting buildings to work against.
These include the famous Salts Mill with the Leeds Liverpool Canal running between its buildings.
As well as the impressive United Reformed Church. which is just across the canal for the mill builds.
All these building were built by Sir Titus Salt around the 1850s, and I was sure would give good and different building to shoot dance poses against.
On the day the weather was overcast and grey which was good, but to lift Kayleigh out of the background I needed some extra light.
To provided this extra punch of light, I therefore set up a single off camera flash unit fitted with a 19″ McGillicuddy beauty dish . This is my favourite modifier to use with a single off camera flash set up.
Urban ballet Images
As the day progressed the weather turned to light rain, which made working on pointe and landing jumps tricky for Kayleigh.
This therefore required us to make a change to the location, fortunately there was some local woods near by.
Which would provided some shelter from the rain for a while, but still allow us to shoot the projects theme of dance.
A question that came up at a recent lecture I was giving to a camera club was: How important is the title of an image?
Now this made me stop and think for a minute (so a good question). I know that when I am creating images I don’t have a title in my mind, it is all about focusing on creating that image. I suggest that the titling process begins when I add images into my library. They have a ‘working title’ which is normally a generic shoot title in combination with a file number. I don’t rely on just numbers and dates alone therefore all the images from that shoot get that generic title.
It is only when I have selected an image and start to process that image that a possible title might appear. It may also come from my thinking while processing the images.
You could say it all depends on what you are going to do with the images. If it is only for your personal portfolio then does a title matter?
My personal opinion is yes, image titles are important.
Images that are going out to be viewed either on my website or on an image posting website should have a title.
Creating a title for your image is all part of the creative process. I know from personal experience that sometimes it is easy to come up with a good title and some times it is very difficult to come up with a good meaningful title.
However this question was in the context of using images in exhibitions/ competitions.
So how important is a title?
My thoughts and experience of entering images into exhibitions is that for most International exhibitions the title makes very little difference.
The reason of this is the volume of images that have been entered makes the judging process a rapid affair. Some times the titles are read out other they appear as texted with the image. It is all about the image making an impact in the short viewing window that the judges have.
It is only in the medal selection process that the judges will most likely see the titles of the selected images.
There are exceptions to this – for example, the London Salon and possibly the Edinburgh International. (Both print salons) where the judging process is very different. The title of the image is very important for the judging here. Especially in the London salon where it is all about the images being selected that show distinct evidence of artistic feeling and execution, So the title is a very important part of that.
But I suspect that for the majority of the digital salons the title is not seen until the end of the selection process. Certainly looking in salon catalogues you will see that certain authors don’t bother with strong title so you might see Mountain view III , or Window light 4.
At club level
However in club photography circles the title is very important and is usually read out prior to the image being presented for viewing/ judging.
So getting a good title for the image is essential. As in this area the title provides a useful handle for critiquing, reviewing and discussing the work.
Alternate titles may be suggested as this review is undertaken, which may or may not help the author.
To me the role of the image title is and will always be an important factor of image making.
It is perhaps the final part of the artistic creation process. The title once chosen, normally stays with that image or any form of art (whatever it is) for it life.
To choose a strong title should be part of the challenge for any artist no matter what type of art is being produced.
So my answer was that a good strong title is important.
Get the title right and it will be part of the emotional response of the viewer’s experience when they view the image.
These are my views so it would be interesting to read others views.
Below are a selection of images and with my chosen title that have done well at all levels with their titles:
I paid a visit to the Hepworth gallery in Wakefield to view the exhibition by the American photographer Philip-Lorca diCorcia, last week and took along my Fuji XE-1.
It is well worth a visit both to see the images in the exhibition but also to get a feel of the space. The Hepworth allows photography in most rooms so here are a few of the images I shot on the day. I started outside with a few images of the building which is quite angular and one either likes or you hate.
These are followed by images from the various areas and rooms within the building. All the images below were shot hand held and processed in Lightroom using the latest Fuji profiles released for Lightroom.
These work well and I have tried a couple of different variant to see what the overall effects to the images are.
Well worth a visit as the exhibition space is good and the café does some good food too. The Hepworth will certainly be on my list of venues to visit in the future.
A trip to London this weekend to attend the opening of the prestigious London Salon of Photography. This is third year that I have been down to attend the opening of this Salon. Although it is not a FIAP salon and therefore does not count towards any FIAP awards, I have tried to support it since being invited to submit some images three years ago. It is not an easy salon to get images into as they have a unique selection process where the images are viewed by all the assembled salon members and the images have to be passed by them, which is not easy. The images selected have to show distinct evidence of artistic feeling and execution. It may not be a FIAP salon but it does receives thousand of entries from all over the world.
So to have managed to get images selected for inclusion within the exhibition for the last 3 years I feel is a great achievement. My first image selected into the Salon (2012) was entitled: the Lady and the Lamp.
Last year I managed gain two acceptances into the salon ( this is the maximum anyone can get selected), and “Synchronized Bathing Practice” picked up a Salon medal which is a really great achievement as only 10 medal are awarded at each salon.
So to this year – I again managed to have two images selected: “Perfecting the art of chair hurdling” and “Perfecting the art of table stands” are both on the exhibition wall.
The first image was also award a Salon Medal, which I was delighted with. To hold two London Salon medals is, I feel, a really great achievement.
A little later than I wanted to blog about this but I have had a busy few weeks since the assemble and opening of this exhibition.
If you are in the Yorkshire area and a club photographer, then the Yorkshire Photographic Union’s (YPU) annual exhibition is the show case for the work from Yorkshire photographers. The Annual Exhibition is the place to be on the opening morning as you get a chance to see the work that has made it to the exhibition wall. This year it is being run by Halifax photographic society and is held in the Bankfield Museum in Halifax.
So how did I fare in this year’s Annual Exhibition? I knew I must have got a few acceptances as when I arrived a number of different people offered their congratulation, but that didn’t really prepare me for the results.
You are allowed to enter 6 prints and 6 digital images. I was certainly very successful with my print entry, as all 6 of my prints made it into the exhibition, certainly a very rare occurrence. I was also successful with 3 of my projected images being accepted into the digital presentation too. So that was another good result.
Having got six print images accepted, I was also delighted to find that three of them picked up Individual awards. Two monochrome prints were awarded trophies: Synchronised Bathing Practice –The Challenge Cup for best pictorial Print Monochrome; and Spotting a Square Landing – the Portrait Trophy for best Portrait or People study Print. In Colour prints general, my image entitled: ‘99 on the edge’ was awarded the Rotherham Trophy for the best sport, action or photojournalism Print.
The Challenge Cup winning image:
The Portrait Trophy winning image:
The Rotherham Trophy winning image:
I also received a number of certificates for the following images: Rainy day thoughts, In Contemplation, and Pillow Talk.
Ilkley Camera Club also picked up two Society awards – The JE Barker trophy for colour prints and the Keighley Challenge trophy for monochrome prints, so we may well be going to represent the YPU in the PAGB Interclub Championship for 2014.
The exhibition runs until the 31st May 2014.
I had not planned to shoot with Anna Rose (a London based model) and it was only because I had been working the studio the day before and unfortunately or fortunately as it turned out I managed to leave one of my lens at the studio. (True Definition Studio). The owner had phoned me to say he had found my lens and as I need it for the next day I decided to drive back over to Stockport to pick it up.
On arrival I found that there was a studio day on and one of the models was Anna rose and whilst talking with the owner and picking up my lens, it turned that that there was a 1 hour slot available with Anna.
So seeing her I made the decision to do some images with her in that one hour slot. Here are a few of images I shot with her all using the natural light windows of this studio.
The levitation image was a bit of an experiment and is really just some work in progress.
Here is a selection of images we produced in that that short time frame.
From January to March anyone working towards the FIAP distinctions will have been finalizing their submissions and sending them off to their relevant FIAP coordinator. The Photographic Alliance of Great Britain (PAGB) who administer the FIAP scheme in for England have set the deadline date as 31/03/2014. I, like all the others on the FIAP trail, have submitted my form for the EFIAP/ bronze level, which I talked about in this post. To achieve this level you need 75 acceptances with 25 different Images and have gained 3 awards. As I could only count acceptances from June 2013 (the date of my EFIAP certificate) this was really halfway through the year so I was pleased to have achieved the required acceptance for this level in a relatively short timescale.
So what have been the learning points this year;
You need to be focused on getting new images into the salons and hopefully gaining acceptances; the important thing with the levels is to build up the number of different accepted images so you can achieve the required number for the level you working towards. It gives you no advantage in submitting previous images accepted, you are wasting your chances of getting other images accepted and building up your image count.
For the FIAP distinctions levels, you do need to have images that have gained awards. You need 3 for the bronze, 4 for the silver, 5 for the gold and 6 for the platinum – which is a total of 18 awarded images overall. Once an image has an award any further awards don’t help you, just the one is all that counts. So continuing to enter the same awarded image into other salons, in the hope of picking up any future awards is a real waste – these awards simply don’t count.
The strategy I have adopted with new images is to enter them into at least 3 different salons and see if they gain acceptances. If they do gain an acceptance I then park it and move on to another image.
My main learning point this year was with image names. I used one image twice with different names and only discovered it as I was preparing my contact sheets. This is not acceptable and again a waste of time. I am not sure what I was doing but I guess entering Salons late at night after a long day at work had something today with it.
So I do need to improve my image numbering/naming system to ensure that images I use are numbered and named correctly to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
A few awarded images from my EFIAP/ bronze submission.
The last time I worked with Model and dancer Kayleigh Lush was in August 2012 when I was working at the Para-Olympics in London and with a day off I arrange to shoot with Kayleigh. She is certain a great model and dancer. I am still working with and processing images from that shoot, as we seemed to produced so many good ones. So quite why I had left it so long to book to work with her again, I am not sure, but when another few day together can about during a visit to London, I decided it was time to see if I could work with here again.
I used the same studio location as I usually use when in down there and that is the studio run by Adrian Pini .( as I have mentioned in my post First shoot of the year) it a studio close to where I am usually base, and Adrian is a good owner and helpful if you need an assistant.
So here are a few of the images that we produced on the day, Kayleigh was a star again and produced some great shapes and moves.
So thanks again to Kayleigh she works so hard to produce great dance shapes and has great athleticism.
I will be booking her again soon.
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