Saturday, 11 December 2010

Pearls of wisdom from Albert Watson

Welcome to the 22nd edition.
Albert Watson
Albert Watson is the greatest photographer of a generation. His images have been influencing style magazines for over twenty-five years. If you are not familiar with his portraits and fashion click on the link. Recently I heard him talk about his work and these pictures. I would like to share some of what he said.
"I just got lucky" Albert Watson said when describing the events leading up to taking this striking image. Shot on location with traditional film and camera long before photoshop was around. It is a double exposure made taking the photograph then printed in a darkroom. Albert Watson prints all his own black and white. The double exposure is created when the camera is stopped down a 1/2 for each one.
The portrait was commissioned by a magazine with the original idea for Mick and the leopard to sit together in an open top car. The wild beast could not contain its natural urge for long and tried to maul the Jagger! While they were building a partition between the drivers seat and the passengers this incredible photograph was taken. The two faces have to be lined up perfectly for this to work. Only one roll was taken with a total of twelve frames. Six of the frames did not have the faces aligned properly leaving six frames that were successful. This presumably is the 'luck' that he was referring to. "The more prepared I am the luckier I get' Albert Watson said later that evening.

Mike Tyson -by- Albert Watson
Albert grew up in Scotland, a tough place were his father was a boxer. He told his son that the neck is the most important part of a fighter and the result, was this picture. A good photographer does research into the subject and location of the shoot. He did take one the right way round so the world could see Mike Tyson's handsome features.....

While I have not learned anything new from hearing Albert Watson two important points are reiterated. Firstly preparation is the key to making our photographic experiences free from unnecessary anxiety. Always double check your equipment and make sure that you have spares of everything if possible. The second point is that portrait photographers need to show leadership and an assured manor when photographing their subjects. No matter what our internal feelings are an impression of everything working out perfectly enables the photographer to remain in control and appear professional even if they do not feel it. Fake it until you make it.

The Darkroom.
Over the past couple of weeks I have re-discovered the joy of the darkroom and I have tried Lith printing for the first time. Zoom In near the Oval cricket ground in London were running a workshop on Lith printing and it was fascinating. Lith is the developer that the fibre based paper is developed in. The paper needs  overexposing by about three stops. I was using Ilford warm tone multi grade that worked successfully. The exposure was F11 at ninety seconds so it is a long exposure in comparison to regular printing. The final tone will depend on a variety of factors including how long it is left in the developer, the ratio which it is mixed to and the temperature of the dev. Lith prints produce amazingly delicate highlights and high contrast in the shadow. Next time you can see the affect.

"The camera is an extention of yourself.... Your story treatment may be subjective, but it is important to remain objective as to truth." Cornell Capa.

Thank you for reading.

Convert digital colour images to black & white -

No comments:

Post a Comment