Category Archives: Milestones

University Avenue on Fire: a photograph using the photo impressionistic technique “in the round.”

University Avenue, with it’s boulevard of apple trees slices through Toronto’s Hospital District. It is a ribbon of colour bound by bleak institutional architecture. But miracles happen here every day. That’s what I love about this picture. The way the colour explodes out of the darkness like hope rising from despair.

My obligations as a lawyer have kept my camera in its bag for far too long. But an adjournment allowed an unexpected shooting opportunity.  Walking up University Avenue between Sick Children’s and Toronto General Hospitals I found these trees breaking out of the shadows.

It was unclear to me how I should capture the scene. Traffic was busy and the sidewalk was a stream of scrubs, suits and patients. After a couple of tests I decided to use a photo impressionistic approach by photographing the trees “in the round.”

a photo impressionistic image of apple trees in fall colours photographed in the round.
Apple trees on University Avenue’s boulevard photographed in the round © stephen d’agostino -all rights reserved

I love the way in the round technique deconstructs a complex scene into its essential elements in an impressionistic way.

This picture is composed of about 20 images photographed “in the round” technique; meaning I walked around the tree to the extent possible taking pictures from different positions. The images were merged using an opacity blend which deconstructs the scene reducing it to its essential elements.

This picture was well recieved on Flickr where it received over 40,000 views on the first day thanks to its selection for Explore. That makes 21 Explore images for me in the past 2 years.

Prints can be purchased from Daylighted at https://www.daylighted.com/picture/7586/university-avenue-on-fire-toronto

My 21st image on Flick's Explore
My 21st image on Flick’s Explore

 

2014 by the numbers

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 13,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Featured on Explore: Soho Soft Focus

I am coming to understand this about photo impressionism: there is no one size fits all technique. You have to open your imagination and pre visualize the effect before pushing the shutter. You have to experiment. You have to push your boundaries.

Just Bokeh: a soft focus approach to West Broadway at night.
Just Bokeh: a soft focus approach to the lights on West Broadway at night. Photo impressionistic take on busy Mercer St. Soho New York. © Stephen D’Agostino

Photo impressionism has many faces. The soft focus approach is popular but I have never really given it a chance preferring to concentrate on multiple exposure and slow shutter images. A recent trip to New York changed that for me.

The first technical challenge was understanding how to override the Nikon 1 V3’s powerful automated tools. The solution: use a DX lens and manual focus mode for better aperture and focus control. The buttery rich bokeh is a function of a large aperture setting.

My personal favourite: a photo impressionistic view of West Broadway at night.
My personal favourite from this sequence: a view of West Broadway at night. Photo impressionistic take on busy Mercer St. Soho New York. © Stephen D’Agostino

To a great extent I think this approach works because of the bokeh. At night the images become dream like.  Colours that formerly defined background elements move to the forefront. Often they seem to dance. Look at the view of the World Trade Center below.

Photo impressionistic view of the World Trade Centre featured on Flickr's Explore 18/10/14
View of the World Trade Centre from Soho. Featured on Flickr’s Explore 18/10/14. Photo impressionistic take on busy Mercer St. Soho New York. © Stephen D’Agostino

The built form of  the World Trade Center seems to melt into a pillar of light. For me it has become a lighthouse of hope, and strength overlooking the street below. I was excited to learn this morning that the curators of Flickr’s Explore page had added it to today’s list.

I am coming to understand this about photo impressionism: there is no one size fits all technique. You have to open your imagination and pre visualize the effect before pushing the shutter.  You have to experiment. You have to push your boundaries. I love it!

A note about Flickr. I have and do use a number of photo sharing services to test reaction to my images. I keep coming back to Flickr because it seems to attract a broader aesthetic in its range of users. All of my images chosen for Explore are collected at https://www.flickr.com/photos/photo-impressionism/sets/72157638979727914/ My photo stream can be seen at flickr.com/photos/photo-impressionism/.

Photo impressionistic take on busy Mercer St. Soho New York. © Stephen D'Agostino
Photo impressionistic take on busy Mercer St. Soho New York. © Stephen D’Agostino

Featured on Flickr Explore – Photo Impressionistic Dragon Boat Racers

My exploration of photo impressionism started with dragon boats and I keep coming back. Is it the power, the visual rhythms, habit?  I just don’t know. But the resulting images never fail to please.

The photograph below is composed of about 30 images brought together using an opacity blend and  recently appeared on Flickr’s Explore page. It was taken at Toronto’s International Dragon Boat Festival on Toronto Island.

For more of my dragon boat images on Flickr see https://www.flickr.com/photos/photo-impressionism/sets/72157622514064785/

photo impressionistic image of dragon boat racers
Dragon Boat Racers

I have been daylighted

A photo impressionistic take on the cupcake. A Kelly XO Bakery cupcake photographed in the round as an example of photo impressionism. © Stephen D'Agostino
Cupcakes and fine art prints. They are all subject to the new paradigm; the internet © Stephen D’Agostino

The impact of the web on retail marketing has been dramatic; really a brand new paradigm. The business of fine art photography is no different.  It is in that context that I have struggled  with whether to try to monetize my digital work or if instead I should be satisfied with the  exposure I get on the web.

underwater photograph of a stingray.
My most stolen image notwithstanding © Stephen D’Agostino

My experience is that sales come from personal contact and that almost no one buys photographic art on the internet. Most see it as a free buffet to copy without payment or attribution. Of course that is annoying and illegal but the reality is it is also the price of exposure.

On the other hand. There is a market for fine art prints. It is a universal truth that when a photograph really speaks to you, you want to engage with a physical copy. As fine art photographer Vincent Versace often repeats, “its all about the print.”

A Purple Allium photographed in the round as an example of photo impressionism. © Stephen D'Agostino
A Purple Allium photographed in the round. © Stephen D’Agostino

logoSIt is in that context that I was recently approached by Daylighted to exhibit on their new platform. A digital display/app system tied to exposure in hotels and other prominent locations.

I like the idea of bringing digital art to the wall using display technology. It is an extension of what we know and see on our many devices and as a result is not unexpected. It also has the advantage of size. In the case of my images, I think size does matter. More importantly I like the idea of exposure to an audience that is engaged in the experience of place and life rather than the internet.; make no mistake,  art is meant to be experienced not consumed.

You can see my Daylighted portfolio at https://manage.day-lighted.com/explore/artist/sjdagostino#/sjdagostino

Daylighted’s full portfolio featureing some incredibly creative artisits such as Hal Eastman, and Matt Malloy, can be seen at https://manage.day-lighted.com/explore/all#/all

Featured on Flickr’s Explore – Apple Trees In The Round – updated

I have been using Flickr for a couple of years to test photo impressionistic ideas. From my experience the Flickr community is more engaged than the other photographic communities I have tried. That is important to me when I am trying something new.

So you can imagine my excitement this morning when I discovered Flickr’s Explore editors had selected my latest in the round experiment for their feature page. The exposure from that means dozens of new followers, many interesting points of view and a bit more acceptance for photo impressionism as a genre.

Thanks to the curator who championed my image.

20140528-_DSC3790-2.jpg

 

Update

For what it is worth, looking back at the views on this image and the others I have had featured on Explore, you can expect about 8,500 views over 3 days on average if you are lucky enough to be selected. For all of my photo impressionism images fetured on Explore  see https://www.flickr.com/photos/photo-impressionism/sets/72157638979727914/

 

“Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?” –Charlie Brown

The Christmas holidays means something different to all of us.

For me it a time to reenergize and reflect; and what a year it has been. Photographically I launched the Photoimpressionism Project, had three images chosen for Flickr’s Explore Page and made big strides in mastering my impressionistic technique. This blog has achieved a consistent ranking in Google’s top 3 using the search term “photo impressionism”. My professional life has enjoyed significant milestones as well; lots of media attention thanks to Mayor Ford, as well as the usual victories for my clients.

_DSC2784-Edit.jpg

This is also the year I began to understand what a great time this is to be a photographer. Digital photography now gives us the tools to fulfill our vision without boundaries. Whether it is the immediacy of iphoneography, the raw power of a pro camera like Nikon’s D4, or capturing the invisible with infrared we have a tool set capable of imaging anything. And thanks to the internet like minded photographers can share their ideas and their victories with just a few clicks.

Looking forward to next year I have 3 personal goals:

– step up my photoimpressionistic technique. There is still much to learn;
– refocus my efforts on producing physical prints; and
– continue evangelizing photoimpressionism as a genre through my work and the work of others.

Best wishes for the holidays, and happy shooting.

Stephen D’Agostino

A personal milestone: Flickr 12,000 views

See the collection on Flickr

Updated: A Personal Milestone 190,000 Views on Flickr

Promoting Photo Impressionism as a genre has always been the main goal of my Internet activity.

While I have tried other sites (such as 500px) Flickr has played a big part along with this website.

My observation is that Flickr has a large and active community of photographers interested in pushing their craft beyond the shackles of “straight photography”. I see lots of experimentation on Flickr and that is the essence of the impressionistic image.

Lately I have noticed that most of my views on Flickr are originating from other sites such as Google Images and blogs. I see that broader exposure as another powerful reason to keep a presence on Flickr.

As photographers we really do live in the best of times, and the worst of times. International exposure is just a click away. On the other hand strong images are so readily available I wonder if it has depreciated the art form?

Via Flickr:
Toronto International Dragon Boat Race – dragged shutter technique ( 0.7 seconds). www.dagostino.ca