Thursday, August 31, 2017

DIY Tilt Shift dSLR camera conversion

It is not often that people get to really see my DIY tilt/shift camera configuration, but when they do it is usually followed by a variety of questions followed by a glazed look of intimidation. After all, it's not your typical camera setup. Here is a quick rundown of my DIY conversion.

Inspiration

I originally saw this configuration being used by the amazing Alex Koloskov in several of his product photography videos. I was immediately intrigued and amazed at its capabilities. While it seemed like a lot of trouble and expense for a tilt shift lens, specially since there are dSLR TS lenses available, I knew, from experience, this setup had a far superior advantage over the standard TS lenses.

The other plus side was that I could still use it as a large format film camera should I choose to.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Artist interview - Miss Julian Grey

Selection from "Looking Glass"
Over the past several decades photography has undergone a massive transformation. Where once it took a certain level of skill and discipline, today's digital camera revolution has created an ubiquitous social tool where skill has been stripped away to allow the contrived vitriol of the masses, clamoring for attention, to create a deep cesspool of visual noise. Harsh, but that is the reality of today.

To rise above this heap of useless imagery, a photographer looking to present themselves as worthy of attention needs to really swim against the current with more guts and gusto than ever before. Miss Julian Grey is such a photographer.

I became aware of Miss Julian, a transgendered, biologically male person who refers to herself as she, through the photography on the net forum a little less than a year ago. I was instantly mesmerized and awed by the images she was posting in the forum. They had a raw quality, at first reminiscent of Robert Mapplethorpe, but with a wholly unique look that has truly become her signature. Her subject... herself.

Selection from "X"
These are by no means the typical self deprecating, duck lipped selfies littering the social media landscape. Not by a long shot. They are a blend of artistic nudes and character explorations with all the subtleties of an experienced portrait photographer. What really caught me was the courage to expose herself  (literally and figuratively) to the camera, baring body and soul for all to judge and reflect upon. They are intriguing, emotional, suggestive and, at times, brutally honest that it is hard to believe these are all done by herself. As a photographer it is difficult to pull such a range of emotion from a subject. It is more impressive to realize she pulled this off from the lens end of the camera. An impressive feat in itself.

I would like to urge you, dear reader, to pause at this moment and take a look through Miss Julian's online portfolio. Her site, xgender.net, contains several galleries divided into themes as her style evolved. It is worth a look.

Since becoming more serious in my photographic path a decade ago I have been searching for some topic strong enough to capture my interest enough to create a long term project. I am still searching. That is why when I see the seeming ease Miss Julian show both as photographer and subject I am more than a little jealous. I long for an impassioned challenge. One that would make the viewer feel something. Maybe it'll come, maybe not. In the meantime I will continue my search and hope that some of Miss Julian's passion and courage will inspire me. I hope that by sharing this her work will inspire you as well.

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