Archives for posts with tag: Photography

Maruyama’s career in photography began in his native Japan. Born in Nagano, in 1968, Maruyama recorded images of this wondrous mountain region. Later he joined Hakuhodo Photo Creative, an advertising company, where he honed his skills. In 2001, Maruyama published two books, The Spiti Valley and Spiti, both dedicated to documenting life in Tibet. This direction shifted his creative interests from the material to the spiritual, fueled by his ability to harness new technological developments.

Maruyama has been involved in many worldwide advertising campaigns, utilizing his expertise in ice, liquid/splash, and specializing in movement in his works. Years of lighting research and the advancement of retouching have made it easier to have a strong idea of exactly how a photo will look even before the shoot begins. However in photographing liquid and subjects in movement, it is impossible to foresee what the end result will be, and it is this spontaneity that enables Murayama to have more fun creating his work. Specializing in splashing and energetic movements within shots, Shinichi Maruyama’s work is subconsciously influenced by a Japanese sense of beauty. For me Murayama’s work resembles an almost modern day sumi-e artwork.

The works, which are so impressive, are reliant on leading technologies capable of capturing this phenomenon at a 7,500th of a second. Maruyama takes full advantage of a recent advancement in strobe light technology, which can record physical events faster than the naked eye can perceive them.

Above all, Maruyama’s photographs are about taking risks, risks in using the ink and water, risks with photographic techniques, and risks with a new approach to art. It is encouraging to see that taking risks can be a beautiful thing. Murayama’s work was a direct influence upon me wanting to develop the techniques I had been experimenting with, pushing myself to ambitiously create a stop motion video, the techniques in which I have no experience.

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This series of the dispersion of ink in water when shown in exhibition were printed in massive scales. The impact of which must have been genuinely dominating. Although many of his works are indeed poorly lit, out of focus; some even contain scratches and blemishes I still find them completely intriguing. On the other hand, he has a keen compositional eye, often making visual patterns out of everyday objects that most people would overlook. Tillmans provides few signposts in aid to reading his images, and establishing links between them and unlike the great photographers and artists, he has no individual, recognizable style. Tillmans for me is an experimenter, a dabbler, and a trait I am coming to see within myself. Considering this I feel we should consider Tillmans less a photographer as such, yet more an artist working through the medium of photography, which may help explain his disregard for conventional photographic norms. His work is not so much based on content or the photograph as a referent, as the way in which a motif is depicted. He experiments with the possibilities of representing the world through the photographic image. For me  the images themselves are beautiful and one of the original inspirations into my experimentations with ink.

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With no horizon line to anchor the picture or the viewer, they have no ‘up’ or ‘down’ creating a strange sensation of disorientation and abstraction. Stieglitz said “I have a vision of life and I try to find equivalent for it sometimes in the form of photographs” he later said “equivalent of my most profound life experience drawing on the symbolist notion of synthesis the possibility of suggesting one thing by meaning of another”.

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He made his series of Equivalents as a response to a critic who believed that he had some kind of hypnotic power over his subjects, and claimed therein lay his photographic talents. Affronted, he set about to prove unequivocally that he could take good pictures of other things, things that couldn’t be hypnotized by his lens. He turned his camera upwards and looked to the sky, to the clouds.

Stieglitz wrote that “I have a vision of life and I try to find equivalents for it.” In good times and bad, he photographed clouds to express his emotional states. He felt that his cloud photographs had the power to transport viewers into the same emotional state he was in when he made the photograph. This is definitely an influence upon my work as I stated in my proposal the desire to communicate the emotional ideals and evolvement with the concept, similarly to Stieglitz.

The patterns of the clouds provide a feeling of passive relaxation and serenity, even though there is a great amount of contrast in shades from light to dark. In his “Equivalent” from 1930, the clouds give the viewer the impression of relaxing flames that are rising from the bottom left corner and are reaching toward the right. They tend to balance the photograph, in that since the cloud formations are angled; there isn’t a portion of the picture that seems too heavy. The photograph, in fact, seems balanced because this creates movement within it. This also frames the photograph on the right, although there are no actual objects there. The movement is what gives the illusion of a frame on the right. The clouds in the photograph are also in sharp focus, as the viewer can see every detail in the sky.

Although Stieglitz has used a differing source of natural forming shapes the main principal behind the desired visual outcome is incredibly similar. It was this work of Stieglitz that drove me to my experimentation with other sources of natural forming shapes, in which I will be shooting smoke under studio conditions.

Ansell Adams once said regarding the equivalents series:

“One can hear great music in the environment of nature with almost religious devotion”

Eadweard Muybridge (1830–1904), a brilliant and eccentric photographer, gained worldwide fame photographing animal and human movement imperceptible to the human eye. Hired by railroad baron Leland Stanford in 1872, Muybridge used photography to prove that there was a moment in a horse’s gallop when all four hooves were off the ground at once. He spent much of his later career at the University of Pennsylvania, producing thousands of images that capture progressive movements within fractions of a second. I have been lucky enough to see this work in exhibition. Since viewing the exhibition I have noticed the increasing influence Muybridge has had upon my own work. In this instance I will be mimicking his techniques in almost all of my own photography. I believe a Muybridge’s studies in motion to have directly influenced me in my choice to shoot and exhibit my work in stop motion.

The Horse in Motion by Eadweard Muybridge.

Although Eadweard Muybridge thought of himself primarily as an artist, he encouraged the aura of scientific investigation that surrounded his project at the University of Pennsylvania. Published in 1887 as Animal Locomotion, the 781 finished prints certainly look scientific, and historically, most viewers have accepted them as reliable scientific studies of movement. The recent rediscovery of Muybridge’s working proofs, however, demonstrates that he freely edited his images to achieve these final results.

The Horse in Motion by Eadweard Muybridge. &qu...

The Zoopraxiscope.

The zoopraxiscope is an early device for displaying motion pictures. Created by photographic pioneer Eadweard Muybridge  in 1879, it may be considered the first Movie Projector. The zoopraxiscope projected images from rotating glass disks in rapid succession to give the impression of motion. The stop-motion images were initially painted onto the glass, as silhouettes. Some of the animated images are very complex, featuring multiple combinations of sequences of animal and human movement. This creation of Muybridge truly caught my attention and imagination upon viewing, I now have the desire to incorporate this into my own work, although it seems unlikely it would be possible or suitable to exhibit this project.

Simulation of a spinning zoopraxiscope