Someone who means a great deal to me loves the painting “Flaming June” by Frederick Lord Leighton (1830-1896). Here’s the original painting:
I always wanted to do a photographic homage to the painting in honor of that special someone. At the time I had hoped to use her as the model, making it something special we would share.
At the time that I first started thinking about it, I didn’t have the skills or the tools to do justice to the painting. After time went by I gained the skills and tools I felt I needed. Sadly, during the time of waiting as so often happens, the special person with whom I wanted to make the photograph with ceased to be part of my life.
Even so, it was a challenge I wanted to take on and a concept I really liked. So with that motivation and out of love, longing and heartache I hired a model and proceeded.
This is the resulting image. I feel like it does homage to the painting without copying it. In particular, this image is constructed using conventions from photography that you probably wouldn’t see in a painting. Also, there are differences in textures and lighting that I was not able to address so I used my own creativity in those areas.
This turned out to be much harder than I expected. I’ve seen other photographic homages to classic paintings (and to this one as well) that succeed to varying degrees. I think mine succeeded but perhaps not as fully as I had hoped. I’m not sure I would want to regularly do interpretations of classical paintings as some photographers do. In this case I was motivated in a way that would not normally apply so this may be the only time that I do something like that.
Model credit: Chelsea Claire
Every now and then, I get a day or two off from the day job. When that happens I get out a map, look for a place I’ve never been before and go there.
For the Memorial Day holiday I had Monday off for a three day weekend; long enough for an in-state road trip. So I got out my map and realized the only place left in Arizona that I’ve never visited was Bisbee in the South East part of the state.
I made grand plans – the town itself is quaint and packed with historic buildings and architecture. The surrounding area has any number of interesting and picturesque back roads and 4 wheel drive trails. I planned a number of side expeditions for photography and exploration.
I serviced my Jeep, settled my love into the seat beside me and filled the back with 4-wheeling, hiking and camera gear. We rolled down the highway, top down, blasted by the hot Arizona wind at 80 miles per hour and without a care in the world.
Two hours later, pulling into Bisbee I stopped and began to back into a parking spot. A loud and rather final-sounding clunk came from the rear of the Jeep. I changed my mind about backing up and tried pulling forward and was rewarded with loud, agonizing grinding noises.
Long story short– there wasn’t an open shop within a hundred miles we could get the jeep’s brakes looked at. Every place was closed for the holiday and even AAA premium service couldn’t really help get us back home in time for work on Tuesday.
So, we left the Jeep parked and stayed in town for the next couple days. No adventuring in the outback– just walking, exploring quirky art galleries and experimenting with small desert town cuisine.
However, as we walked around what proved to be an historic but also quaint and quirky Arizona town, I saw sights that held potential for evening architectural photography. That evening, as the sun set, I set up my tripod and captured the image featured above.
To me this photo is reminiscent of a scene from a John Steinbeck novel. You almost can’t tell it wasn’t taken 100 years ago except for the fact that it’s in color.
We drove the jeep home on Monday, serenaded all the way by a constant, painful grinding noise. This photo almost makes the trip and the $1000 in repairs to my Jeep worthwhile. Almost.
Why not help me make the trip worth it in spite of the Jeep repairs? Why not purchase a beautiful print of this photo from me here? Think of it as a charitable act.
It’s been possible to shoot photographs in color for almost 100 years. Ever wonder why photographers still shoot photos in black and white? More importantly, why is black and white often seen as a more artistic realm than color photography?
Color photography is usually more realistic. It tends to represent a scene in a more documentary and precise fashion. Color also makes an image more complex; perhaps in a distracting way.
Black and white photography does not represent reality – it represents an interpretation of reality.
As a photographer, one can use this interpretive capability to one’s advantage. I can set a mood to convey an idea in a subtle fashion that is out of my reach in color.
Here’s an example of a black and white image I created to deliberately represent a specific idea. I doubt that the image will convey this idea directly to you at a conscious level. This photograph is more subtle than that. None the less, I believe the idea will be conveyed to you at some level.
That is why I believe this image is one of my most successful.
If the image means something to you too, why not order a print from me here?
Here’s one of my favorite photos…
It’s a picture of Hunt’s Tomb at Papago Park in Tempe, Arizona.
Hunt was the first Governor of Arizona and he was interred in this pyramid with his wife, mother-in-law and, I believe, one of his wife’ sisters.
I love this image both because it’s a good night shot which is something I always enjoy but also because the image has certain memories associated with it. There’s a personal connection for me with the image. Having an emotional connection to an image is something that doesn’t always happen but when it does, it always make the image more than just a technical exercise in composition, exposure, focus and lighting.
I confess to a certain degree of photoshop manipulation in the image. It’s impossible to expose for both the moon and the pyramid together. If one single exposure was taken that exposed for the pyramid, the moon would be all washed out. If the moon was properly exposed, the pyramid would be much too dark.
For this image I took two exposures (using a tripod of course). One exposed for the moon and one for the pyramid. Then I combined them in photoshop into a single, properly exposed image.
If you like this photograph as much as I do, you can order prints here.