Tag Archives: Photo Impressionism

Photo-Impressionism: Other Voices

dagostino01 by Stephen D'Agostino
dagostino01, a photo by Stephen D’Agostino on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Watching Mona Lisa – Paris – in camera multiple exposure. This image, printed on stretched canvas, was exhibited at Toronto’s 2007 Contact Festival. See more at www.dagostino.ca/Contact/contact_index.html

First and foremost the goal of my website project is to promote the idea of photo impressionism as a genre in the hope that others will embrace it.

When I first started to create photo impressionistic images in the mid nineties there were only a few photographers exploring it on the web and fewer in print. Freeman Patterson’s book Photo Impressionism and the Subjective Image published in 2001 was a powerful resource and really changed the way I visualized photography ; really an extreme extension of the unbridled call for creativity in his 1999 book Photography for the Joy of It. Since then, and in no small part thanks to the digital revolution, photo impressionistic images have joined the main stream (if evidence is needed, look no farther than the plethora of multiple exposure and slow shutter images coming out of the Olympics.)

However, straight photography has been so prevalent for so long that photo impressionistic images still are not well received. Interestingly photographers seem most reluctant to embrace it. The comments appearing in dpreview.com’s coverage of Reuters’ Olympic multiple exposures illustrates point. It is shocking to see photographers loose site of the fact that every image is a”mere”representation of the event, not a true reproduction. Photo Impressionism is no different. Using photography as the medium it tries to capture the essence of a moment or thing and convey that essence to the viewer.

Here is a selection of photographers who seem to have embraced photo impressionistic techniques. I don’t mean for this list to be exclusive or exhaustive so by all means contact me if you would like to be included:

Pep Ventosa

Lovely photo impressionistic images “in the the round”:
http://www.pepventosa.com

Eva Polak

Lots of experimentation resulting in some great images. Check out her abstracts:
http://www.evapolak.com/

Dave Wodchris

Check out his use of slow shutter technique which produce some lovely abstracts:
http://www.davewodchis.com

Susan Thomson

Interesting hand coloured sx70 prints. I like the creative use of this old school technology to produce a photo impressionistic look:
http://www.sx70.com

Nikhil Bahl

Sun Flowers using slow shutter pan and zoom. Reminiscent of Van Gogh:
http://nikhilbahl.blogspot.ca/2010/07/photo-impressionism-zoom-flick.html

Flickr

There is a lot of great talent showcasing on Flickr. Check out the photo Impressionism groups:

Fire storm

Washington Square – In The Round

I have been experimenting with photo impressionistic “in the round” techniques; inspired by images produced by Pep Ventosa.

There are two big challenges from my point of view. First the images have to be carefully composed to allow them to be merged. I try to keep a constant distance from the subject and use my view finder’s grid lines to keep the composition consistent. It all makes sense if you think of making an in camera multiple exposure. While you can fix composition issues in Photoshop, the result may look too contrived.

On the Photoshop side, the images depend on the use of opacity and blending modes. I have had good results using 50% of the opacity of the layer below as a rule of thumb. Different blending modes produce very different results. I like the look of luminosity mode.

Helpful links:

Via Flickr:
Washington Square, New York. Another in a series of experiments in this genre. This image is composed of about 40 photographs taken around the fountain and then merged in photoshop. Post production was limited to colour balancing and filters designed to bring back a bit of structure such as NIK’s tonal contrast filter and Vincent Versace’s mid tone contrast action.

Marathons: A Photo Impressionistic Opportunity

081019_DSF3270-Edit by Stephen D'Agostino
081019_DSF3270-Edit, a photo by Stephen D’Agostino on Flickr. For more see my marathon collection.

Just a follow up to the great multiple exposures coming out of the Olympics. While you can’t expect to get an Olympic point of view, local races are a great opportunity to shoot multiple exposures and impressionistic images with a longer exposure.

Toronto is blessed with two world class marathons and they are worth planning for. See:

Photo-impressionism At The Olympics

I have been experimenting with action sports such as dragon dragon boat racing and distance running using multiple exposure photography. So you can imagine my pleasure seeing some great examples coming out of the olympics.

These are some of the images I liked best:

For more images, credits and background information on the techniques used see:

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Photo Impressionism – In The Round

Walking past the Lumas Gallery in Soho I was reminded that travel photography isn’t just about taking pictures. It is also an opportunity to see new ideas and techniques.

A few months ago I saw an exhibition of multiple exposure photographs shot “in the round” at Lumas. The photographer, Pep Ventosa, took photographs of trees from very angle and then merged them together to create a montage. The images, and in particular the trees, are beautiful, painterly and impressionistic. You get a sense of the tree, it’s environment, and more.

The technique is more difficult than it sounds. I use a DSLR that allows for in camera multiple exposures but the camera times out before you are finished and it doesn’t allow you to shoot enough images. I don’t think the technique works with fewer than 20. So you are forced to shoot single images and then merge them in Photoshop. I find that if you frame your shots as if the image in an in camera multiple exposure, the post processing won’t be as contrived because you maintain the sense of random error inherent in that kind of photography.

I have been experimenting with in-the-round using strong vertical subjects such as fountains, carousels and monuments. There is much to learn here but I think the Washington Monument example shows promise.

More to come on this technique as I figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Photo Impressionism at the Toronto International Dragon Boat Festival

The 24th Tim HortonsĀ® Toronto International Dragon Boat Race Festival is on this weekend at Centre Island. A great venue for photography with lots of colour, and the ability to be proximate to the action.

The event is a real exercise in hurry up and wait. Races last just over 2 minutes but in reality you only have about 30 seconds of good shooting depending on your location. Then there is a pause while the next race sets up. Personally I couldn’t do it without my iPod and a selection of good pod casts.

I attended yesterday with the intention of working on my impressionist photography portfolio including dragged shutter and multiple exposure technique. I also thought I would try a little infra red black and white. All in all I was happy with my images. Here’s what I learned.

Shooting Location

The action takes place on the Long Pond at Centre Island. Races run from west to east.

You are much closer to the action if you perch on the south shore but be aware that at that location you are shooting into the sun.

Lenses

I brought a 70-200 and a 500 mm lens and a FX camera. My infrared camera is a DX. The 500 was marginally okay for shots looking directly down the course. The 70-200 was great for passing shots. If I had a 300 mm I would likely have used it.

Other Equipment

Wheels! It’s a long walk from the ferry so a wheeled camera bag is a great idea.

Tripod vs mono pod. I would bring both. The boats move quite quickly and there is a lot of action to choose from so I regretted not bringing a mono pod. The tripod of course is must at 500 mm as is a remote trigger.

Neutral density filters. You can’t slow down your shutter without them. I have been using a variable ND filter which I really like. The draw back being you can’t use a lens hood.

Food and water. There are lots of concession stands but the races run every 7 minutes on average so buying food will cost you 2-3 photo opportunities. I used a cooler bag and half frozen water bottles to keep it cold at a minimum weight.

Technique

To further my impressionist photography project I tried various shutter speeds and shutter intervals. It’s hard to tell at this point what worked and what didn’t but I will post my results as I see them. But on a preliminary basis it seemed to me that multiple exposures worked best at slower speeds eg 60th and dragged shuttled seemed best at about 1/2 a second.