Thursday, March 10, 2011

Photo of the Day - Pretty Pictures

    Last night, I attended the opening of an absolutely wonderful photo exhibit Pretty as a Picture  by friend and former teacher, Ken Shung. 
    I took his Lighting for the Magazine Photographer class at SVA last year and it was such a rewarding learning experience. Ken is a remarkable instructor, of the schooling that there is no right or wrong technique in photography (composition, lighting..etc)'s forever an individual  process of trial and error ---which is absolutely true. You can't teach someone how to take beautiful shots, you can only provide them with the basic skills and let them develop their own eye, and everyone has a completely unique eye for images.
    (Below is one of the images I shot in his class of model Autumn Potter:)  


I found Ken's Pretty As a Picture exhibit fascinating because it showcases decisive moments and gorgeous imagery that capture beautiful moments in time...snippets of stories that the viewer is only given a frame of.
The exhibit, described best by Ken, himself:
 “It is said that a photographer/ artist is always searching to find his or her own vision and voice, otherwise they just ends up making a bunch of Pretty Pictures. With this collection of recent images I explore the nature of ‘When is a photograph just a Pretty Picture?’”
    It's a rather interesting question, no? It's actually been the theme to my struggles in developing a stronger body of work this past year. I previously spent a great deal of time creating images, not for their content, but strictly for their aesthetic and beauty. Sure, I went out with a theme set in mind, but when all was said and done, I worried more about making a 'pretty picture' than I did about the message that picture was trying to convey. The images all fell flat, without true depth or concept because of my approach.
(Below are a few examples of shots I took this past summer, which I won't strike down as 'failures', rather steps in the 'trial and error' chapter in the photography process.)

  My dear friend, Vladymir Bayla walking the Highline in NYC.

My daily escalator ride home.

The good news is that I have finally been able to pinpoint why the above two images have been bothering me so...and the glorious thing about Trial and Error is that crucial step of being able to try, try again.

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